There’s nothing scarier than a new horror movie trailer that checks off all the most obvious beats of generic spooky-movie fare from the past decade—unless by “scary” you mean “something that causes fright,” in which case just about anything is scarier. Yes, The Disappointments Room, a new chiller starring Kate Beckinsale as a woman who starts experiencing weird phenomena after her family tries to make a new start in a new home, has clichés aplenty in its trailer. Not since The Other Side Of The Door trailer has there been such a standard assemblage of studio horror elements. You’ve got your big old house in the middle of nowhere; a ghost child making spectral appearances (running up a massive spiral staircase, no less); a mysterious locked room; creepy photographs; and for good measure, the reliable “is this really happening or is she mentally ill” tactic. Truly, The Disappointments Room looks like the Subway sandwich of horror films: It masks a bunch of limp, unappealing ingredients by claiming to be “fresh.”
So given the contemporary tradition of ruining just about every element of a film in its trailer, let’s try to guess the plot of this movie. Given the title, and Beckinsale’s character’s obsessive concern with the unmarked and locked room, I figure it’s called the “disappointments” room because that’s where the creepy old man in the photograph kept what he called his “disappointments”—children that broke the rules, or some such. And by opening the door, she unwittingly unleashes their vengeful spirits (or maybe his, it’s a toss-up in that department). And as she tries to find a solution, the increasingly strange goings-on have her family concerned that she’s suffering the same mental breakdown she previously endured, since every bizarre occurrence is something that could plausibly be her own doing.
Also, the film’s description mentions “the house’s mysterious and horrifying past may be closely tied to the family’s own personal history.” So, she’s secretly adopted, and was part of this nightmarish family? Sure. When the film comes out September 9, let’s meet back here and see how accurate we were. Despite a screenplay co-written by Wentworth Miller (Stoker), this doesn’t look promising. Poor Kate Beckinsale: With the exception of Vacancy, she just hasn’t had the best luck with genre fare. (If you’re like us, and saw Whiteout in the theater, let’s commiserate sometime.)