Customer Reviews: Room 205
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I have been looking forward to seeing "Room 205" because when I rented "The Last House in the Woods" the enveloped did not describe that film, but this film, and since that film was so bad, I figured this film had to be better. The only thing these two Ghost House Underground films have in common is that they are both dubbed, in which case "Room 205" really ends up being paired with "The Substitute" because then are both from Denmark. The original title in Danish is "Kollegiet" translates as "The College," which apparently makes Danish film fans think horror film, a premise reinforced by "The Substitute," which also taking place in a school, although that is really more of a science fiction film (apparently schools are really scary places in Denmark).

Our heroine is Katrine (Neel Rønholt) has recently suffered the death of her mentally ill mother, and has moved into a dorm at a university in Copenhagen. Katrine is assigned Room 205, where it turns out that something not very nice happened there once, which would explain the apparition that she starts seeing in the mirror. However, Katrine's immediate problem is that she has gotten on the bad side of Sanne (Julie R. Olgaard), after sleeping with her boyfriend. The precipitating event is a mean spirited prank that goes awry, and then things start to happen in this 2007 movie, which is good because the first half develops at a lathargic pace and the dominant tones of brown and yellow start to ware thin on the eyes. The dubbed voices are emotionally flat, but I have to admit that matches the sedate Scandanavian personalities of the characters (although I must acknowledge that when this movie was dubbed for American audiences they did not also tack on a bunch of heavy metal music to juice things up, but stayed true to the original artistic vision). The combination of these elements might be enough to have a lot of horror fans hit the eject button before we get to the hour mark, but that is actually when things pick up, relatively speaking.

Eventually we get the two requisite elements for a ghost story like this one, namely the exposition of the rules for ghosts and mirros provided by Rolf (Mikkel Arendt), who is certainly Katrine's match in terms of being low-keyed, and the backstory on what happened to the girl who died in Katrine's room. I sort of expected all of these college students to start turning on each other as the paranoia gets wratched up, but the ghost has no serious competition in this film. I do not know if the credit goes to director Martin Barnewitz or writer Jannik Tai Mosholt, but the motif of mirrors and glass does add some distinct touches to this movie. More imporantly, "Room 205" is one of those increasingly rare horror film that reverses the usual pattern and has a much better ending than a setup. This movie is more about tension and atmosphere than it is about blood and gore (with the elevator scene being the exception that proves the rule), and when it comes to having motivation to come back from the dead and kill people, this ghost has it in spades. Plus I like it when the heroine is smart enough to now the end is not the end, reversing one of the most hackneyed of horror movie cliches. However, most of you will probably find the ending to be too little, too sedate.
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on October 9, 2011
This movie is worth a rental, at best. It is dubbed in English.

The minus part is the slow moving plot. It's in no hurry to get anywhere fast, and it will reveal it's secrets when it wants to. That took the two stars away for it in my opinion.

The plus side is the eerie photography and the atmosphere of dread. A lot of the scenes appear blurry and washed out, but it adds to the surreal eerie atmosphere. And when the ghost does appear, there are odd sounds with her that remind one of "The Grudge".

One of the leads actually steals the movie with her acting and just how convincingly mean she made her character.

it is worht a watch, it is a foreign dubbed film, and not of the usual pacing and photography of the American movies.
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on April 14, 2011
Room 205 (original Danish title - "Kollegiet") is set in a Copenhagen university where a local urban legend about a supposedly haunted dorm room, seems to become more than legend when a series of deaths start occuring in the dormitory in question. Despite being described on the cover as a "fast-moving slasher movie", it's really neither. (Not that there'd be anything wrong with it if there were.) Room 205 is more of a 'slow-burn' kind of dark ghost story, that takes a little while to really take off, but succeeds in building a very creepy, disturbing atmosphere.

It starts when new girl Katrine (Neel Ronholt) moves into the dorm. Much of the movie's subtext and subplotting involves the subtle and rather savage unspoken hieracrchy that occasionally rears its ugly head in academic settings, with its social pecking orders and sometimes quiet/sometimes overt conflicts. Katrine starts off on the wrong foot by accidentally getting on the bad side of the wrong people, and their campaign to drive her out of the dorm begins. At first it seems like just little things but it starts getting ugly. One of the pranks to scare her involves a mock assault patterened on the legend of Room 205, which seems to 'wake up' the ghost, and the college is plagued by a string of seemingly accidental deaths. All of which leads into uncovering the origin of the 'haunted room' legend and who and what the angry spirit really is.

Room 205 is completely different from other college-themed horror movies like Sorority Row and Black Christmas (Unrated Widescreen Edition) (both of which I loved, by the way). A much slower pace, a plot that smolders and creeps rather than jumps right out (at least most of the time), and the violence is less frequent but often very unsettling and cringe-inducing. I can't really think of a movie to compare it to. Maybe Red Rover / Heritage De Sang or Infection, but the stories and themes are completely different, just something about the 'vibes' in those movies are similar.

Random points - the visual style the movie is shot in is quite subdued and takes some getting used to, but ends up fitting the grim atmosphere quite well. On a non-grim note, one of the subplots of the movie features a slowly budding relationship between two of the characters, that's very sweet and highly effective.

Overall, Room 205 may be a bit Too slow for some tastes, but those who don't mind a slower pace and are open to a different kind of atmospheric horror movie should definately take a look.
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I really enjoy sampling the horror cinema wares of different regions and countries. More often than not, they are better than the same old paint-by-numbers films coming out of Hollywood; more than that, though, foreign horror films almost always put me in an environment I'm not fully familiar with and inject a creative element into the whole experience that branches down dark corridors I've yet to traverse. Kollegiet (Room 205) marks my first foray into Danish horror, and I must say I'm not quite sure how to approach this particular film. I want to criticize and praise it at the same time. Part of me says it wasn't all that impressive of a film, but another part of me has to acknowledge the fact that it definitely managed to get under my skin before all was said and done.

Room 205 isn't going to grab you by the lapels and shake you. In fact, it's difficult to really get into the story or characters early on. The fact that the whole atmosphere is dark, dreary, and rainy all of the time doesn't help, but the real burden the film has to overcome is the fact that it develops very slowly over the course of the first half hour. It's even difficult to get much of a read on the main character, Katrine (Neel Rønholt), who initially comes across as a shy and unassuming young lady just entering university; there's an air of mystery about her, however, as we see some definite conflict between her and her father and soon learn that her mother killed herself some time earlier. Her new dorm mates are rather standoffish, especially Sanne (Julie Ølgaard), and we know they basically ran the last dorm mate out of the house; you're either in or out, and Rolf (Mikkel Arendt) was out. Katrine soon hears the story of a ghost in room 205, supposedly that of a young woman who died there twenty years earlier. Surprisingly enough, it is not Katrine but Sanne who actually lives in room 205 - but that doesn't mean Katrine has nothing to worry about, especially after an indiscretion and betrayal lands her on the outs just like Rolf.

I've seen some viewers compare this movie to The Ring (Widescreen Edition), but I don't see any connection whatsoever between the two films. Room 205 is in no way a Danish version of The Ring. I do agree with those who say this film was not scary, but I do have to say that I came to find it deliciously unsettling. That probably has more to do with the directing and cinematography than the actual story, though. Mirrors play a significant role in this film, and director Martin Barnewitz makes great use of them to produce several eerie and oddly captivating visual shots. Unfortunately, the English dubbing of the film leaves much to be desired (having watched the film online - legally, I might add - I did not have the option of foregoing the dubbing in favor of the much more desirable subtitles).

Some people just aren't going to like this film, but I hope those who see it resist whatever temptation they feel to give up on it early on. When matters eventually start to hit the fan (or mirror, in this case), Room 205 is quite capable of pulling off some effective horror-laden moments. The deaths, while not overly gory, are nevertheless presented quite effectively, and there's a strong psychological aspect to the whole story. You have to connect with Katrine to get the full effect, but I think most viewers will do just that. Personally, I found Neel Rønholt to be a most enchanting young actress - and not just because she bears a definite resemblance to both Erin Brown (formerly Misty Mundae) and someone I know. She's exquisite, and I daresay her smile could launch a thousand ships. She's definitely earned a spot on my personal watch list of actresses. I'm also going to keep an eye out for other Danish horror movies; it's far from perfect, but Room 205 gives me the distinct impression that good things are happening in Danish cinema.
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HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICEon November 7, 2008
Along with The Substitute, Room 205 is a Danish import carrying the Ghost House Underground banner. Unlike The Substitute though, Room 205 is a tedious bore that fails to deliver, and ends up being a ghost story minus the scares. The gorgeous Neel Rønholt (who is a dead ringer for erotic scream queen Erin Brown, AKA Misty Mundae) stars as a newly moved in college student that soon learns the last inhabitant of her dorm room met a tragic and grisly demise. Her spirit is restless, and it isn't long before her mates start getting picked off one by one. It's nothing we haven't seen or heard before, but Room 205 at least starts out promising before getting caught up in mellowdrama. Adding insult to injury is the fact that Room 205 is just plain boring for almost 2/3's of its running time. Though it does get better during the last third of the film, Room 205 still ends up being a mostly boring disappointment. Still, you could always do much worse horror wise, and Room 205 is worth a look for ghost story fans, just don't expect too much out of it.
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on December 30, 2009
In order to review the movie Room 205, I have to start with with the DVD cover itself. In the bottemish left hand side [...] says that Room 205 is a 'Fast-paced supernatural teen slasher'. Several problems with this: None of the charecters in this movie are teenagers, more like late twenties to mid thirties. Second, to call this a slasher flick is insulting to Halloween, Friday then Thirteenth, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc. This movie is more in the class of Pulse, Rest Stop, and Boogeyman. The death scenes were okay I suppose. I actually liked how the charec ter got whoooshed back into a glass case and she bled to death. The elevator scence had been done many times. Finally, the ending was a real bummer. I am still confused as what took place. Girls gone, boys had tongue ripped out? and girl leaves? Despite all this, it was a pretty good movie for 91 minutes.
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VINE VOICEon November 19, 2008
ROOM 205 baffled me. There is so much not to like about it. For instance, the entire movie is dubbed, and by voice-actors who sound like they've been chugging Dramamine. The plot mainly concerns a girl named Katrine who has just moved into a dormitory in Copenhagen. Her roommates are intrusive and manipulative jerks whom she befriends immediately by mostly standing around and grinning. It took me a while to realize that they are supposed to be youngish college students (hence the bizarre clique mentality they all share), because none of them look like they're any younger than 35. Their unofficial leader is the shrewish Sanne (pronounced like "Sane? Uhhhhh..."), who does not suffer from the typically human need to blink. Sanne kinda-sorta befriends Katrine (this is up for debate), but then Katrine goes and has harried hallway sex with Sanne's ex. Sanne, of course, goes on the warpath, and Katrine is suddenly foisted out of the clique. She joins Rolf, who was the last roommate before her. In every scene, Rolf appears to have just woken from a nap; he's the sickliest-looking man in Denmark.

At some point during the course of an ubelievably loud dormitory rave, a ghost is awakened.

The characters in this film are so confusing that they are almost hypnotic. Katrine's tendency to never defend herself or respond to common conversational comments is simultaneously off-putting and admirable. Secondary characters appear out of nowhere whenever a few extra bodies are required, but they contribute only as much to the action as your standard piece of scenery.

And yet, I still kinda liked it.

Ignoring for the moment that I am a sucker for really bad movies, the things this film did superbly were the horror moments. When it needs to be, the film is legitimately scary. The ghost and her mirror world are almost as engrossing as the rest of the movie's awkward awfulness. Much is accomplished with a few subtle jump cuts and lighting tricks, and there are few to no of the cheap-shot false-scares that movies like these usually haul out by the truckload.

I've never seen any of his other works (they include titles like "Bag Kameraet Pa Hotel Pandemonium" and "Legekammeraten"), but I give dirctor Martin Barnewitz props for doing some interesting work with Jannik Tai Mosholt's inane script. It may be slow and weird, but ROOM 205 is also kind of addictive. And if it doesn't make you jump, odds are good it will at least make you laugh.
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<strong>Kollegiet</strong> (Martin Barnewitz, 2007)

<em>Kollegiet</em>, on the other hand (q.v. <em>White</em> review above), would seem to impart to us the lesson that the Occident should not attempt to make Asian horror movies at all. Not that I was really expecting much better from Barnewitz, who was tabbed to direct the (awful) <em>Messengers</em> sequel a couple of years ago, but <em>Kollegiet</em>, released in English-speaking countries under the title <em>Room 205</em>, is so standard that it almost seems as if one of the hackier Asian horror directors (Takashi Shimizu?) wrote a draft of a <em>How to Make an Asian Horror Film for Dummies</em> book, Barnewitz got his hands on a copy before anyone bothered to revise it, and he followed it to the letter. The problem being, of course, that since there's nothing new here, the movie comes off as a pale (pardon the pun) remake of some other generic Asian horror movie you saw a few years ago, but can't quite remember.

The movie does have a plot, if a light one: Katrine (<em>After the Wedding</em>'s Neel Rønholt), a provincial young woman, goes to college in Copenhagen, looking for something more insteresting than her usual small-town existince. What she finds, unfortunately, is a rather cliquish bunch of kids in her dorm who seem to be led by Sanne (Julie R. Ølgaard, recently of <em>Headhunters</em>). Of course, things get worse when Katrine finds herself attracted to Rolf (<em>Yours Forever</em>'s Mikkel Arendt), a former member of the clique (and romantic entanglement for Sanne, of course) who is now outcast. Needless to say, there's a Dark Secret(TM) to be had, and a Vengeful Long-Haired Spirit(TM) who is loosed on the crew as a result of an accident, and...

do I need to tell you more? Because you've seen it. Dozens of times, probably, if you're a fan of Asian horror at all. But where even mediocre Asian horror films at least get the basic stuff right--continuity, coherence, a decent amount of atmosphere--<em>Kollegiet</em> expects of its viewers that its existence will be enough. Sadly, it is not. **
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VINE VOICEon January 2, 2009
When you watch a ghost story, you expect some spooks, chills and a few explanations about the backstory.

What you get in Room 205 is a sometimes badly dubbed film that lacks any scare effect.

Katrine is a troubled young woman who moves away from home after her mother's death. There, she discovers spiteful housemates who want to make her life hell after a bad hook up. During a rave, a ghost suddenly awakens and sets out to destroy them all.

As I watched this film, I kept waiting for that AH-HA moment - the one that pulls everything together in an intriguing twist. I also expected a few scares. I got non of that. The plot was seriously underdeveloped. There were obvious directions it could have gone, but everything was just, well, very dull.

Perhaps this works for European audiences, but it is not for the American horror fan. Save your cash for other Ghost House titles.
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I really hoped for better when I picked this up. "Room 205" doesn't really have a unique plot or above average acting, and the scare factor is very low. This Danish horror flick centers around a young woman who moves into a dorm where there's a Room 205, purported to be haunted by the restless spirit of a dead girl. When the young woman finds herself being a target of bullying, her mental state is further confused by the startling visions she experiences - of a strange entity, a face staring at her from a mirror etc. Soon, people in the dorm begin to die under horrible circumstances - is it a supernatural entity at work or something less sinister?

The movie's flaws lies in many areas - though the lead actress is pretty enough and seems to act credibly enough, the plot unfolds very slowly that I almost dozed off midway through. Yes, it's a Danish movie, and one can have the option of English audio [though I watched it in the original Danish with English subtitles], but language barrier aside, this movie was still lack luster.

The acting by the other cast members was quite stilted, and the effects didn't elicit any scares either. The muted tones used throughout the movie lent the picture quality a hazy and uncomplimentary effect. The story was promising, though by no means original [Asian horror has done better with similar premise], and it's a pity the potential wasn't realized.
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