A little while back I had mentioned that I was on an Asian horror kick. Sadly, it didn’t last too long, as I was thrust into watching and reviewing more random horror flicks. I never quite got out of the phase, however. Luckily, today offered me some more free time to finally get back into some of the films I had acquired. Today’s viewing pleasure belonged to Daisuke Yamanouchi’s Red Room.
Four contestants enter a card game known as King. Locked in a room together, each player must withstand the orders of each round’s “king” in order to continue participating. Whoever is the last survivor, walks away with the 10 million yen prize.
I originally heard of Red Room years ago, most likely during another of my Asian horror benders. It wasn’t until very recently, however, that I finally got my hands on a copy.
This 1999 straight-to-DVD flick starts off by introducing the main cast, our four King players. With his tiny cast of performers, writer and director Daisuke Yamanouchi was able to create characters that were very different from one another. Each displayed very distinct personalities and had their own, individual motivations for playing the mysterious game.
The acting by all parties is rather good. Each actor was able to portray their roles perfectly from start to finish. Red Room and the King game start off rather mild, but as the game rolls on, the stakes are raised. As such, the four characters progressed accordingly — the more brutal the gameplay, the more their true nature was revealed.
At only 68 minutes long, Red Room is precise and to the point. The film cuts between the actual game and flashbacks of when the players were making acquaintances. It was a very effective way of telling this particular story.
Red Room isn’t just about the brutality of the game and lengths in which each player is willing to go to win. It is just as equally about becoming familiar with each player and why they volunteered to be a part of it all in the first place.
Red Room is a perversely entertaining mix of suspense and downright torture porn. It isn’t overly explicit, but it is still able to maintain a high level of savagery.
If you are at all against things like vomit, urination, or any other bodily functions, you may need to sit this one out.
The acting is on point, the writing is much more clever than I had originally anticipated, and the special effects are all executed using practical means.
If you are a fan of films like Would You Rather or, more appropriately, Jessica Cameron’s Truth or Dare, I highly recommend checking out Yamanouchi’s Red Room.
You can pick up a copy of the film on DVD from the good folks over at Unearthed Films. The release seems to be on the more rare side these days, but if you’re lucky you can still get it… and for less than 10 million yen!
I give this one 3.5 101 Dalmatians sweatshirts out of 5.