A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Disappointments Room is a haunted-house movie about a family with a tragic past. Scenes of bloody violence include characters being bashed and covered in blood, children dying (a baby is tragically, accidentally killed) and in danger, a mangled cat corpse, a dog attacking a boy, and other shocking images. In one sequence, the main character gets really drunk and throws a tantrum, smashing plates. There are other references to drinking and smoking, and prescription drugs are shown. Language isn't frequent but includes a few uses of "f--k," "s--t," and "goddamn." Sex isn't really an issue, aside from a little flirting and some affectionate moments between a husband and wife. The title refers to secret rooms in which wealthy people once put their socially unacceptable offspring.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In THE DISAPPOINTMENTS ROOM, Dana (Kate Beckinsale) and David (Mel Raido) and their son, Lucas (Duncan Joiner), move from the big city to an old country house to get away from memories of a recent tragedy. As Dana, an architect, starts exploring the house, she discovers a strange little room that locks from the outside. She also starts seeing strange things around the house and its grounds, such as an old man and a black dog. And she begins having nightmares and visions that are so real she can't tell them from reality. Is the house haunted, or does Dana need to reconcile her past to come to terms with her present?
Is it any good?
Even though it stars an accomplished actress and has an intriguing design, this haunted-house movie doesn't have much to offer. The Disappointments Room's scares, mysteries, and character relationships are all numbingly routine. Director D.J. Caruso unsuccessfully mirrors The Shining with a few shots and uses the old "it was all a dream" trick a few too many times. Even the legend behind the title -- a "disappointments room" is supposedly a place where rich people once hid their socially unacceptable offspring -- isn't really explored beyond a few gruesome photos of deformed children.
Beckinsale does her best as the suffering mother, and Dana's drunk ranting scene looks like it must have been fun to play, but ultimately the movie doesn't give her anywhere to go with her anguish. David is written sympathetically, but English actor Raido plays him with an irritating, high-pitched Brooklyn accent that makes him seem insensitive. Bottom line? The Disappointments Room comes across as a movie with very little thought or enthusiasm put into it and only disappointment at the end.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Disappointments Room's violence. How much of it is directed toward children? At animals? How much of it is shown in dreams or nightmares or visions? How does that affect the story? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
What makes this a horror movie? How scary is it? What's the appeal of horror movies?
What do you think of the idea of a "disappointments room"? Does such a thing seem real? How could you find out more about the topic?
- In theaters: September 9, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: December 20, 2016
- Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Lucas Till, Mel Raido
- Director: D.J. Caruso
- Studio: Relativity Media
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violent content, bloody images, some sexuality and language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.