Hey gang, Valkor here. So I’ve gone through my share of films involving “man in box” (i.e. Buried, Brake and even Freezer); however, this is the first time I’ve encountered one that involved “woman in box” with the film “Riddle Room”. Needless to say, the overall experience left me wanting for something more than what I was expecting. Major - and I mean major spoilers are ahead. So if you’re interested in seeing this film and you don’t want to know how it ends, then stop reading now.
“Riddle Room” is a psychological thriller that puts the focus on wife and mother Emily (Marisa Stober), who is suddenly tossed into a room by masked assailants with her hands tied and mouth gagged. She’s able to free herself and after a quick search of the room she’s in, she came across a book of matches with the date “January 11th” as well as the time of 8:30. On the wall of the room, there’s a clock that’s winding down from 28 hours as well as a cot. When the masked men return, one, in particular, begins to question Emily on the date of January 11th and stresses the importance of Emily knowing something important about the day. Emily claims to have no knowledge of the importance of the day and her captors leave. Eventually, she’ll not only find additional clues hidden throughout the room but discover that a friend of hers, Amanda (Erika Hoveland), is locked in the room next door. To make matters worse, her captors put her through water torture in an attempt to get Emily to reveal the significance of the date. What does it all mean and why is that date so important? And what happens when the clock reaches zero?
First up, Emily wasn’t put in the room against her will as it's revealed at the end that it was all part of her treatment. So let’s take a step back: Emily was working on an experiment with colleague David Cobb (Peter Carey) and it looks as if they’ve made some positive strides. Suddenly Emily needs to make a call and when David leaves to allow Emily some privacy as well as to do some prep with the new found discovery, there’s an explosion, David is killed and Emily is exposed to a mutated virus – a virus that she and David were working on. The virus not only causes a deterioration of Emily's brain, but it also causes her to relive the date of January 3rd. This brings us to her being locked in the room along with the tortures and clues strewn about; it turns out the entire event is something of a “stress test” in order to trigger Emily’s memories in hopes of revealing why January 11th (remember the book of matches) was so important. While it is considered that Emily is making some progress, in the end, there are no new answers and Emily once again must go through the entire process in hopes of finding a cure.
Riddle Room was a slow, boring and uneventful experience that leads to a nothing of a conclusion; unlike a film such as Buried, there’s zero tension build up or suspense. Sure there’s a lot of guess work from all the clues, but the end result doesn’t justify the means. And that’s pretty much all that needs to be said.
Riddle Room is available now on digital download and DVD; but if you’re looking for more of an intense experience with the whole “man in box” story, the definitely check out Buried, which is way more satisfying. In the end, Riddle Room simply doesn’t cut it and it gets a 1 for trying out of TOV 5 stars.