Tag Archives: Kevin Janssens

This Little Piggy


by Rachel Willis

Why did the pig cross the road?

To get hit by a car and lead us into a dark and comedic fairy tale along with our hero, Chef Sam (Kevin Janssens, Revenge). Director Aik Karapetian, working from a script co-written with Aleksandr Rodionov, brings us a more funny than scary tale of a man who stumbles into a strange situation.

While searching for a father he’s never met, in a country he’s never heard of, Sam not only hits the aforementioned pig but meets Kirke (Laura Silina). Because she claims the pig was hers, Sam offers the woman a ride home. He shares a meal with her, and she offers him a bed for the night. Revealing any more of the plot would take away from the joy of experiencing it for yourself.

Though several scenes are more reminiscent of a horror film than a comedy, Karapetian never loses the element of humor. What helps maintain the lighthearted nature, despite several darker sections, is the presence of the film’s jaunty-voiced narrator. His occurrence in the film is as welcome and natural as any of the characters on-screen.

As is the presence of the many pigs who share screen time with our human characters. As with most fairy tales, the animals are as essential to the story as the humans. At times, humans play the role of animals, and animals take on near-human qualities.  

This is an unusual film, to be sure. Karapetian broadcasts early and often that what you can expect is the unexpected. It’s an accomplishment that the actors embrace their characters as naturally as if you stumbled upon them in some unnamed forest in Eastern Europe.

The score is another element that keeps things from taking a darker turn. The harp makes you feel you’re dining in a five-star restaurant, even while watching pigs covered in filth getting a shower. The fancy font for the opening credits only furthers this feeling.  Villains and heroes, pigs and wolves, this film is populated with many things strange and unusual. And it’s all the better for it.

When You Wish Upon a House

The Room

by George Wolf

Why was Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 cult classic called The Room, anyway? Why not Tuxedo Football? Doggie McFlowers? Or the obvious: Oh, Hi Mark!

I know, I know, The Room made no sense as a title, which made perfect bizarro sense for a perfectly bizarro film.

This The Room is the new Shudder premiere from director/co-writer Christian Volckman, and while its title is perfectly fitting (though curious, considering the ease of confusion with Wiseau’s entry, as well as Brie Larson’s Room from 2015), the film itself struggles to add anything compelling to a familiar narrative.

Kate (Oblivion‘s Olga Kurylenko) and Matt (Kevin Janssens from Revenge) are moving into their new place in waaay upstate New York. It’s quite a fixer- upper, and somehow nobody hipped these homebuyers to all the gruesome details of the killings that occurred there.

“Nobody told ya?” asks an incredulous yokel.

Nobody did, thanks old-timer. Good thing, then, that Matt can get filled in with a quick Google. But wait, that’s not even the home’s biggest secret.

It’s got a room, a special room, that will give you whatever you ask. A ton of cash? Done. Priceless art (Matt is an artist)? Van Gogh for it!

What about a child? After two miscarriages, the room could be the answer to the couple’s prayers…or there could be a catch to all this wish-granting.

Kurylenko and Janssens are all in, and Volckman (helming his first live action feature) sets an acceptably creepy mood on the way to a mind-bending, off the rails finale, but The Room can never get below the surface of themes that have been tossed around since the earliest Monkey’s Paw adaptations.

The only thing more dangerous than someone who gets nothing they want is someone who gets everything they want. It’s a moral declaration with numerous possibilities, but always more effective when left for an audience to realize on their own, and then maybe underlined by a Rod Serling parting shot.

The Room includes the lesson as a line of dialog, which is a crystal clear picture window into the subtlety to be found inside.