Room 36

Room 36


Reviewed by: Josh Morrall

Room 36 is a noirish black comedy set in London, incorporating themes such as prostitution and political corruption. The plot revolves around Conner (Paul Herzberg), a contract killer out to eliminate Miss West (Portia Booroff), who is in possession of a film that could be damaging to the Prime Minister.

This cliched and unarresting storyline is incorporated with various perversities occurring in a sleazy hotel, which enables the director, Jim Groom, to delve into sexual abuse and ultra violence, something that horror enthusiasts won't be amused by, due to the micro budget special effects and overtness of these flaccid scenes, which are so obviously forced and unnecessary - catching the Prime Minister at a peep show, the murder of an obese man by stabbing him in the throat with a beer bottle and so on.

This is not to say that Room 36 is completely devoid of entertainment. The choice to shoot in black-and-white is supported by the dark themes; the one isolated scene in colour serves to contrast the nightmarish reality of the world inside the hotel. However, the film aims to be a black comedy and so we can't take the horrors too seriously.

The characters are followed around by their thoughts, heard as voice-over snippets. The general low quality of acting contributes to the outrageousness of these aural inserts, which sound more like the voices of cartoon characters than noir villains. This is not to mention the scenes in which the dialogue has been dubbed, laughably. The cry of "Noooo!" returns once more to the screen after a brief absence since Revenge Of The Sith.

Although Groom has taken an original approach with a poor quality script, there is absolutely nothing to keep the audience watching Room 36 after the first 36 minutes. The characters are underdeveloped and easy to hate, and not in a self-loathing, Sin City antihero kind of way, but in a self-loving, boring, utterly unsympathetic Room 36 way.

Points awarded for confident disregard for substance and for packaging this farce with an eye for detail. Points deducted for everything else.

Reviewed on: 17 Sep 2005
Share this with others on...
A black comedy in black-and-white about a contract killer in a vile hotel.

Director: Jim Groom

Writer: Tim Dennison, Jim Groom

Starring: Paul Herzberg, Portia Booroff, Brian Murphy, Norman Mitchell, Frank Scantori

Year: 2003

Runtime: 89 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


Search database: