Saturday, 28 March 2015

The Dorm

"The Dorm" (2014, Rachel Talalay, Nomadic Pictures) is a college based horror.

Vivian (Alexis Knapp) starts college a semester late. She's shy, self-conscious, reliant on lots of medication that she doesn't truly need, overly dependent on her elder sister and keen on frumpy, unflattering clothing. On her first night, however, she manages to get to know a few housemates who invite her to join them in drinking their "tea". Feeling like she's being accepted, Vivian joins in and soon becomes fast friends with Sarah (Cassie Steele) and the group. Or so she thinks...

Over the coming days, Vivian experiences several transformations as her face, hair and body begin to alter to suit her beauty ideals. She is over the moon... and is quick to become just like the bitchy, drunken, popular twits she'd once despised.

However, soon Vivian begins to worry about these transformations as she learns that she is becoming more and more like her dorm room's previous occupant (who disappeared). Could her new friends be behind this? Is this more of a sinister trick than a happy miracle?

At just over an hour long, the film manages to cover a lot of ground. The themes of outer beauty and society's obsession with becoming beautiful and being accepted are very interesting. The characters aren't all explored to their full extent, but it's a horror film. What do you want?

There's some chilling points and a few gore elements, although the film is more of a psychological thriller than a slash fest. There's also some really effective tension built as our protagonist becomes more aware of what is going on and her friends become more and more... strange.

The main flaws are with the plot. I get what's happening, but I don't understand the motive. The whole premise of the film is just off; why would anyone do the things that start this ball rolling? Seriously?

Aside from that, it's not terrible. It has an odd score and some of the bar scenes are oddly quiet. I'm pretty sure this was done for effect to hone in on our, now very selfish, main character, but it plays out weirdly as if there's something missing.

Some of the ghostly parts are very nicely achieved, however, and this film certainly has some merit as a night-in trashy college flick.

[Image: Nomadic Pictures]

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