Room 33 (2009)

Rating: D+

Dir: Edward Barbini
Star: Nina Hauser, Kim Manning, Adam Key, Ace Gibson

On their way to a bout in Portland, a roller-derby team plus their coach and equipment manager, pick up a couple whose car has gone off-road. However, a little further down the highway, the road is closed, and it turns out their van does not have enough gas to make it back to the last town. They find a driveway and follow it, hoping to find a house, but instead arrive an an abandoned state institution, where they decide to spend the night. However, Sarah (Hauser) is attacked by the shovel-wielding Roxy, who doesn’t have a great deal to say about the situation, but appears sufficiently disturbed as to freak the new arrivals out. Matters aren’t helped by the mysterious figure spotted roaming the asylum, or the tendencies of those, both in and outside the part, to end up with their eyes missing.

The set-up and initial introductions are actually well done, and kinda interesting – I haven’t seen a horror film with roller-derby chicks as the main protagonists before, and it’s a neat idea. Unfortunately, once the story arrives at the institution, it completely runs out of steam: it almost feels as if the location came first, with the makers then trying to come up with a plot that would wrap around it, and failing miserably. Instead, they have nothing to provide beyond a series of cliches, including that old standby. the faux cat attack, which I thought had been laughed out of the genre somewhere in the mid-80’s. The kills are badly-executed and/or off-screen, and the incredibly irritating Kevin Smith/Zach Galifianakis wannabe does not meet the fate he deeply deserves. The story doesn’t make much sense, and the further this goes on, the less you care about its pointless meanderings and the characters that initially showed such promise, become grating and annoying. You may end up gouging your own eyes out during this one.