Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Roman (2006) review


   Offbeat horror director, Lucky McKee, makes his acting debut in this independent, post-May psychological horror, which, though lacking much scare factor and budget, contains much substance.

PLOT: Roman (Lucky McKee) is a recluse of a sort with no friends, no TV and nothing to do but work and watch The Girl (Kristen Bell) pass by his apartment window everyday around 5:30 PM. Roman clearly has a kind of creepy, shy obsession with this girl. One day when Roman decides to get out of the house for a bit, he finally meets this girl. They start to have a few conversations and become friends. Next day, Roman meets the girl outside his apartment after work and invites her in. Things get a little exciting for Roman before she says she has to leave. Roman, in a fit of excitement, doesn't let her leave and accidentally smothers her trying to keep there and keep her quiet. When Roman realizes what he's done, he's distraught and doesn't want to let go of her for anything. In turn, Roman dumps her body in his bathtub and starts to preserve it under ice, as he doesn't want to lose her or have anybody find out. Roman's life continues normally until a new girl moves into the empty apartment. Her name is Eva (Nectar Rose) and she's a very strange character similar to Roman. Roman's life with his "two girlfriends" starts to get better but also very confusing in trying to let go of one obsession and begin with another. The plot is simple but executed pretty decently. Though McKee actually doesn't direct in this one, it still contains a flair of offbeat, disturbing horror through the telling of Roman's obsession with his corpse and his sheltering from the world. It's not perfect, but it could be done so much worse.

ACTING: The acting here is hit-and-miss for the most part. All of the performances are the equivalent to an everyday conversation with the person. Lucky McKee did a decent job as Roman, pulling out all the stops at the end of the movie. Nectar Rose also stood out a bit with her role as the visionary Eva. She took the part as if it came natural. The rest of the performances are just kind of plain, even Kristen Bell as The Girl. The murder scene was pretty much the highlight of her performance.

SCORE: The soundtrack is a weird mix of different kinds of alternative music. Though not too pleasant to hear, it sets the mood quite well for Roman's "dates" and fantasies.

EFFECTS: The only special effects involve the steady-rotting corpse of Roman's obsession. They're very cheap and inexpensive, but I like the fact that they tried to show the passage of time in this manner.

OTHER CONTENT: This movie is definitely a strange one, but for an obscure indie horror, it kind of works. Haunting atmosphere, a well-written script, surreal editing, and a prying look at a the life of an inexperienced recluse help this movie kind of float into the safe zone. This horror is by far not the best, but it would have to be an independent favorite for me. McKee and director Angela Bettis come together to make a very neat little psych horror, with a surprising amount of heart and realism.

   Though McKee isn't in the director's chair this time around, I'd still group it with all of his other works easily. Roman is a haunting, disturbing, and surreal psychological horror that is very underrated. Though the performances and scare factors aren't rock solid, the mood is still set accurately with all other factors falling decently into place. It's nowhere near perfect, but definitely the right touch of offbeat.

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