The Forever Room (2021) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

The Forever Room (2021) Review

Horrorific content by adrian on September 24th, 2021 | Movie Review | Psychological, Madness, Dysfunctional Family, Isolation

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Claire wakes one day to find herself chained in a basement. Her horror is amplified when she discovers that her captor is her own mother!

The Forever Room has that going for it in a big way, as well as a promising premise. And when you see it’s the latest offering from Kevin and Vickie Hicks, the genre team responsible for the very intriguing Dead Air, you figure you’re looking at a guaranteed winner for sure. The Forever Room stars Samantha Valletta, Luca Iacovetti, Nicole Skelly, and Kevin and Vickie Hicks themselves.

A mother's love never dies.

The Forever Room Review

A great title can make all the difference when it comes to capturing the curiosity of a potential audience and setting it apart from the rest of the pack. But does The Forever Room manage to deliver on that promise over the course of its 91-minute runtime, or would it be more at home on the growing list of indie disappointments for 2021?

The opening scene introduces us to Claire (Valletta), a troubled young woman who’s chained up in a basement. Her captor is Helen (Vickie Hicks), a woman who says she’s Claire’s mother. According to Helen, she’s keeping her daughter in this situation for her own good, even making a disturbing comment about Claire not having murdered anyone for a while. On the other hand, Claire has no memory of doing such things, nor does she seem to have any real idea what’s going on. She doesn’t even recall how she got into the basement in the first place.

And then there is the matter of her mysterious visitors. One is a mysterious woman named Rebecca (Skelly). Another is a man called Ethan (Kevin Hicks), and a third is just a boy – Michael (Iacovetti). Who these people are, what they’re doing here, or even whether they’re real isn’t clear. However, they are indubitably connected to something sinister in Claire’s past that she’s repressed. Can Claire get to the bottom of the mystery and save herself before it’s too late?

Single-room horror stories that leverage small casts and limited sets to their advantage are always a treat, and The Forever Room has that going for it for sure. It also takes a decent stab at the twist ending, a device that can work incredibly well if done correctly, as with some of the work that made M. Night Shyamalan famous. Of course, it helps that the Hicks team created such a successful twist for Dead Air, so you feel like you’re in good hands going into The Forever Room.

That’s what makes it so disappointing when the so-called twist doesn’t scan so well this time around. To begin with, the plot is thin and basic – the type of thing that’s been done so many times before, anyone who’s seen many horror movies will likely see the “surprise” coming a mile away. Part of the problem appears to be a writing issue, as one gets the impression a writer with a bit more finesse could have pulled this off.

Another issue is the fact that there’s no authentic atmosphere going on here. Claire, in particular, is tough to read. She’s in a situation that should have her in a seriously fraught emotional state of one kind or another – seething anger, abject terror, or palpable despair, perhaps. But, instead, she barely seems to care whether she ever escapes her prison, and that makes it incredibly hard for the audience to care much, either.

Worth Watching?

The Forever Room isn’t unwatchable, by any means. There are some bright spots and interesting sequences. Plus, Vickie Hicks is genuinely terrific as Helen. But you’re left wanting a lot more. Just about everyone behind this film – in front of the camera or otherwise -- feels like they’re simply phoning it in, which isn’t helped by the lackluster plot. So if you’ll be happy coming out of this with a couple of good scares and not much else, you might not hate it.

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