The Fun Room (2010) – By Josh Samford

It is no secret that I am generally the ‘go-to’ guy amongst my friends for films with disturbing content. That isn’t really something I am proud of, because it generally means my taste in cinema is a bit less respectable amongst many segments of the public, but what can I say, we all have our specialties! The Fun Room is one such film that marks out its niche fairly early on. A general take on the “home invasion” subgenre of horror, our film delves deep into the nightmarish world of serial killers and the inhumane torture they imprint on their victims. While nowhere near the top (or bottom, as it were) of the hill when it comes to disturbing content, The Fun Room definitely does its best in creating something that is regularly gruesome.

Our film begins fifteen years in the past, as we watch a young Danny Roberts try to spy in on a young woman’s house. After he is busted, he watches as a kidnapper enters into the domicile and begins to torture and kill a older woman. This leaves a horrible impression on young Danny, as he begins to emulate this very same rape/torture session in the years that come. Danny ends up in prison while the world around him simply moves forward. When Danny manages to escape from prison, he heads back to the home where he saw that first murder and he sets his mind to collecting as many bodies as he can, while also capturing the young woman he has always secretly loved!

The Fun Room takes me back to that shot on video feel that so many indie horrors from the nineties had, especially the shock-titles from filmmakers such as Todd Sheets or Andreas Schnaas. The Fun Room is still infinitely better made than something like the Zombie Bloodbath trilogy, but it has that same grimy and sickly visual flair that gave those films texture. As a manner of judging how times have changed, it is kind of interesting to see cheap gore FX being replaced with cheap CGI effects in these modern ‘shockers’. Although I don’t want to spoil too much, I will just say that there is a sequence involving some CGI fire that doesn’t work all that well. I don’t want to give the wrong idea, that this is a movie featuring a great deal of bad CGI. I have to actually commend the film for including some decent practical effects work too.

Keeping in mind the negative-budget, the gore FX are actually fairly well done for this sort of affair. There are a few nearly cringe-inducing sequences throughout, as women are consistently brutalized. Vaginal stabbings and disfigurement is the main choice for entry level torture, before our killer moves on to completely decimating his kidnapped victims. The most impressive bit of latex work would be a soon-to-be-infamous sequence where the character of Danny rips apart a woman’s jaw. The bit is shot in such a way that you can’t see every little gory detail, but enough is left to the imagination that it becomes even more horrifying than it probably is. There is also a notable sequence that involves a long and rigid pole that really sets itself apart from the pack. Hey, while I am at it I might as well mention the torture that involves acid, which could be considered as equally disturbing. Since the sound is mixed relatively low, the only thing that becomes eligible at low volumes are the massive screams of the victims during these horrible moments. Although I doubt that this was intentional, it makes for a creepy atmosphere when watching. I could see it simply being annoying to some viewers, however.

This is cheap, nasty, violent cinema; there’s no getting past that. You are either into this or you are not. While I appreciate several aspects of the film, including some well-shot sequences and two or three decent performances amongst the cast, the main selling point for this feature would be the extreme nature of its content. Could you do better? Sure, but for fans of graphic and disturbing content then this could be worth searching out. While it had some negative moments, the amateurish acting from some cast members being a big part in that, it does what it says on the box and shouldn’t disappoint too much. If you want to read more about the project, you can visit the official website at: http://stonebellcreations.com/funroom