I'll be honest, here...I become like a 50-year old desperate housewife when I hear an Australian/New Zealander speak. They have that effect on me. And perhaps it is my weakness to their accents that I find myself immediately attached to their films. And perhaps that is why The Dead Room was able to retain my attention for as long as it did.
The Dead Room follows a group of researchers that try to determine the validity behind a haunted farmhouse that literally scared away its previous occupants. The team's determination grows exponentially and in parallel with the paranormal happenings of the house. As they battle the logic between scientific research and paranormal perspective, the haunting becomes more intense, until the team must decide to retreat or face the spirit within the house.
The film starts off on a decent beat, skipping ominously the family's experience in the home. It begins with the researchers entering the house for the first time and immediately jumps into their characters and their perspectives on the situation. We have the head researcher (Jed Brophy), the scientist (Jeffrey Thomas), and the psychic (Laura Petersen). Of course, the film traces much of the discord between Jeffrey and Laura, as their philosophies on the haunting vary greatly. Their arguments, sometimes drawn out into healthy explanations on their logic, are actually a highlight, because they very well encompass an argument one might have between a skeptic and a paranormal believer in reality.
The repetitious behavior of the haunting becomes overwhelmingly dull as the film draws out. I found myself giving up on the tension, as it grew so gradually and methodically that it became predictable and boring. The real-application of household furniture and doors to do most of the haunting work did give off a vibe of realism, but sometimes reality is boring. And in this case, our haunting, which is based on a true location in New Zealand, just takes too long to develop and with such a predictable rhythm.
The acting was decent, but I've seen much better with films of a similar vein and budget. The directing certainly had its moments, but its scares fell short and gave off a vibe of an over-funded Paranormal Activity sequel. I can appreciate an original haunting concept, but this doesn't quite fit that bill, even if it is a retelling of a rare haunting in the New Zealand countryside.