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The Disappointments Room

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United States

D.J. Caruso


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The Disappointments Room is a 2016 American psychological horror film directed by D. J. Caruso, written by Caruso from a script by Wentworth Miller, and starring Kate Beckinsale and Mel Raido as a couple in a new house that contains a hidden room with a dark, haunted past.


Originally completed in 2014, the film was not released until September 9, 2016 by Rogue to both critical and commercial failure, grossing only $5 million from a $15 million budget.

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Looking for a fresh start after the accidental death of their infant daughter Catherine, architect Dana Barrow (Kate Beckinsale) moves with her husband David (Mel Raido) and 5-year-old son Lucas from Brooklyn to the Blacker estate in rural North Carolina, a once-grand dream home that has sat abandoned and run-down since the death of its original owners in the 19th century. Upon her arrival, Dana begins having unsettling visions and nightmares of a mysterious German Shepherd and of Lucas covered in blood. While exploring the grounds outside, Dana finds what appears to be a homemade gravestone engraved with the drawing of a kite, when she sees a light turn on in house's attic, seemingly of its own accord. Heading upstairs, Dana finds an area of the house not listed in the blueprints, a room whose entrance is blocked off by a large armoire. With David, she manages to push the cabinet out of the way, only to find a locked door. Dana finds the key hidden atop the doorframe, and enters the room along the next day, only for the door to suddenly close and lock of its own accord. Dana experiences a vision of a young girl being tormented by her father and his German Shepherd, and subsequently suffers a nervous breakdown.

Dana eventually makes it out of the room, but is deeply shaken by her experience. She begins to research the history of the house, learning about its namesake Judge Ernest Blacker (Gerald McRaney) and his daughter Laura, who died on the same day as Catharine; July 5th. Dana consults the local historian Judith, who tells her the Blacker family had a secret "disappointments room" in the attic, where wealthy socialite families cruelly shuttered their deformed or disabled children. As she spends more time researching the house and it's history, Dana's mental state begins to unravel, and she stops taking her medication. She begins having increasingly vivid and disturbing visions of Laura, Judge Blacker, and the dog, and begins acting erratically toward David and Lucas. She finds a portrait of Judge Blacker and Mrs. Blacker hidden behind a pair of facing mirrors, and burns it.

While David entertains family friends, Dana hires local handyman Ben Philips (Lucas Till), who has been performing maintenance on the house's leaking roof, to dig up the grave in the backyard. The ghost of Judge Blacker suddenly manifests and kills Ben with a shovel. Dana discovers Ben's body hanging from a noose above the open grave, inside of which sits Laura's deformed skeleton. Dana sees another light appear in the attic, and when she goes inside, finds the portrait she burned intact and in their place. Entering the disappointments' room, she witnesses a flashback of Judge Blacker murdering Laura with a hammer as his wife futilely tries to stop him. Blacker's dog attacks Dana as he moves toward Lucas' bedroom. Dana breaks the dog's neck and picks up the hammer, running to Lucas' room and stopping Blacker from killing her son by repeatedly bashing him in the head with it. David rushes in, seeing Dana frantically hitting an empty bed. He tries to get her to calm down, telling her that there's no one there.

Calming down, Dana reflects on Catherine's death, revealing that she accidentally smothered her, triggering her slow spiral into insanity. David vows that they will return to Brooklyn, and that Dana will get better. Before leaving, David removes the door from the disappointments' room, and Dana takes one of Laura's figurines. As they drive away, Dana spots Judge Blacker looking down at them from the window.


  • Kate Beckinsale as Dana Barrow
  • Mel Raido as David Barrow
  • Gerald McRaney as Judge Ernest R. Blacker
  • Lucas Till as Ben Philips jr.
  • Duncan Joiner as Lucas Barrow
  • Michael Landes as Teddy
  • Michaela Conlin as Jules
  • Celia Weston as Marti Morrinson
  • Ella Jones as Laura Blacker
  • Marcia DeRousse as Judith
  • Joely Fisher as Dr. Asher
  • Jennifer Leigh Mann as Mrs. Blacker
  • Production

    The production on the film began on September 8, 2014, in Greensboro, North Carolina. On October 20, Kate Beckinsale, Mel Raido and Michaela Conlin were filmed outside buildings on South Elm Street in Greensboro. The same buildings were used for exteriors, but the interior filming for the scenes represented by those buildings took place on Fourth Street in nearby Winston-Salem. The house used for the main location was the English Tudor style Adamsleigh estate, built in 1930 and designed by Luther Lashmit, at Sedgefield Country Club outside Greensboro. The film's Special make-up effects were provided by KNB EFX.

    During the film's lengthy post-production process, a number of key scenes and subplots were either trimmed or cut entirely. These include a flashback sequence of a garden party held by the Blackers while Laura hopelessly looks on from the attic, and a scene of Mrs. Blacker being killed by her husband's dog as retaliation for trying to save Laura.


    The film was seeking a distributor after Relativity Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and placed the film up for sale. Later, Relativity Media scheduled the film for a March 25, 2016 release. On March 14, 2016, it was revealed that Kidnap would be the first post-bankruptcy release in August of that year, pushing The Disappointments Room and Before I Wake off the release schedule. When Relativity Media revealed their new film schedule, The Disappointments Room was moved to November 18, 2016. It was then pushed up to September 9, 2016 with Rogue Pictures distributing the film. The movie was added to Netflix in the United States on April 19th, 2017.

    Box office

    In the United States, The Disappointments Room was released on September 9, 2016, alongside Sully, When the Bough Breaks and The Wild Life and was projected to gross $1–2 million from 1,554 theaters in its opening weekend. It went on to gross $1.4 million in its opening weekend, finishing 17th at the box office. In the second week the film, still playing in those 1,554 theaters, grossed just $377,322, dropping to 24th place.

    In its third week, however, The Disappointments Room was dropped from all but 36 theaters (97.4%). This set a record for highest percentage of theaters dropping a film in its third week, surpassing the 97.2% by the infamous flop Gigli. By the fourth week, only ten theaters were still showing the film, bringing in just $3,749.

    Critical response

    On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 0%, based on 19 reviews, with an average rating of 2.9/10. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score 31 out of 100, based on 7 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "D" on an A+ to F scale.


    The Disappointments Room Wikipedia