Kyra, a young woman kidnapped off the street after a night out, wakes up in an isolated house with two other captives. They are informed by their sadistic captors that they must wait their turn to enter the Room before they will be released. Once they discover they will never leave the house alive, they plot to escape before it is their turn to enter the Red Room.
Definitely not a film for the squeamish or faint of heart, Red Room actively sets out to unsettle you, sicken you, and ultimately disturb you. What it lacks in production value is made up for with decent, believable acting, brutal violence, and tasteless exploitation. Some of the gore scenes had me physically cringe—the noises sometimes worse than the visuals. Very little is left to the imagination as we explore the worst that humanity has to offer.
The plot is relatively simple; imagine Hostel but with the internet. A group of thugs kidnap some young, pretty ladies and stash them away in a secluded house while they await their turn in the Red Room. Rather than strong writing and a clever plot, the film draws you in with its filthy, depraved characters and hapless captives. It then seems to progressively challenge itself to get more horrifying, lecherous, and evil with each passing act.
The film forces the viewer—if they are able to stomach the gore—to enter the very real world of ultraviolence and the dark web. While the film probably takes some liberties with the format of the murders, the streaming thereof and the tech used, purchasing snuff is, in reality, probably nothing but a few clicks and a credit card away if that’s what you need to get your rocks off. If you’ve spent anytime at all on the dark web, you know as well as I do that this not hyperbole.
Now, some folks like to throw around the phrase torture porn, implying that this kind of exploitation film is nothing but erotica for those who are aroused or excited by extreme violence. Maybe that’s true, maybe it’s art with a message. Both Srđan Spasojević’s A Serbian Film (2010) and Eli Roth’s Hostel (2005) claimed deeper meaning and political themes to their films, yet both were criticised for their extreme nature—the argument being that whatever message that was meant to be delivered was hidden behind the buckets of blood and viscera or infamous shock-scenes. More recent examples of similar titles would be Lucio A. Roja’s Trauma (2017) and Nicolas Pesce’s The Eyes of My Mother (2016), both of which are just as disconcerting and unnerving.
As an exploitation piece, Red Room more than rises to the challenge of standing toe to toe with its peers from the past; it’s as hardcore as anything you’ve seen and if that is the kind of horror film that rocks your socks, this delivers on every level aside from being noticeably lower in the budget department than the aforementioned films. I do need to clarify though that when I say lower in budget, I do not mean any of the gory details are cheap. Director Stephen Gaffney made some very wise calls, sacrificing things like location and fancy cinematography for visual effects and makeup; he knew what he wanted his film to be and directed it accordingly. If nothing else, he wanted the wretched exploitation scenes to be as diabolical and realistic as possible and, in that sense, he achieved his goal.
This is not a “date night” movie. This is not something for casual horror fans. This is not something you watch with the family…and to be honest, this was not my cup of tea. That said, it’s definitely memorable, definitely deplorable, downright dastardly, and textbook exploitation. I’ll close with the same line that I opened with and say that Red Room is not a film for the squeamish or faint of heart. I am giving it a full five stars not because I enjoyed it, but because as an exploitation film, it’s top tier. You have been warned. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. Trailer and poster below.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.