This movie ‘Breathing Room’ has a somewhat familiar narrative which features a group of people in a room, none of them knowing how they got there with some unknown outside force pulling the strings of these confused people. Also fairly familiar is the concept that one of these people is the killer as one by one the numbers of this group of people gets whittled down. And although the premise of ‘Breathing Room’ is a familiar one, it did have some promise to be a halfway decent little thriller, that is up until it ended.
Tonya (Ailisa Marshall) is participant fourteen and the final contestant in this little ‘game’ as she is tossed into the room buck ass naked and completely disoriented. Our current contestants rush to cover her up and attempt to explain to her what is going on, at least as much as they know. The people in this room consist of a rather diverse and eclectic group of individuals which include Hero Dude and take charge guy no. Eight (Michael Lafferty), Trouble Making Cat no. Six (Brad Culver), Wise all knowing Black Dude no. Ten (Kim Estes), We All Gonna Die Guy no. 3 (Terry Marsteiner) and a few others thrown in to keep the body count high which include another Black Guy, Angry Chick, Old Chick, Geek, Priest and Sad Pretty Girl.
As our host will tell the constants, the game is rather simple. One of them will walk out alive. Each of our participants are sporting one of those neat ‘Battle Royale’ style death collars which are in place to punish you should you break the ‘rules’ and as our contestants have shown newbie Tonya, there is a backroom that is chock full of a couple of rule breakers already. Our clients are also given little clues about some of the other contestants to heighten the paranoia factor, not to mention the various weapons and odd objects that are strewn throughout the room that may or may not have any usage.
The lights go out, the room goes black, there’s screaming, terror and mayhem, the lights come on and somebody is dead and another clue is laid out to examine. Why are these unseen manipulators doing this to these seemingly innocent, random people? What is the purpose of the game? What are they trying to prove? And more importantly, which one of our contestants is the mole doing all the killing once the lights go out?
With the exception of the mole question, none of those other questions are going to yield any kind of answers for you if you choose to watch ‘Breathing Room’, which is a major, major problem with this flick. Some movies can get away with an open ended conclusion and those movies can manage this feat because they’ve laid out enough ground work that at least allows you to theorize or postulate with some relative degree of certainty what may be going on. This is not one of those movies. A movie like this, the way it is laid out, desperately needs a WOW moment.
"WOW! That dead guy on the floor was Jigsaw?"
"WOW! Bruce Willis was dead all the time?"
"WOW! Soylent Green was people? You Gotta be kidding me!
So what we did get as far as a conclusion was simply a ‘what… huh… I don’t get it…’ moment. Since ‘Breathing Room’ didn’t have that solid, rock ‘em Sock ‘em conclusion you’re left with the movie itself which was fairly mediocre. The story is a rehash of other movies you’ve seen previously and this one does very little to elevate it from that pile, the acting isn’t all that bad considering the single location and the actors do a decent job of playing off each other, but its not good enough to raise the overall mediocrity of the whole production. The atmosphere wasn’t half bad, the pacing wasn’t too bad either, again considering the location restrictions, and there were a couple of cool surprising elements that popped up here and there, but I did wonder where our killer was hiding those night vision glasses that allowed this person to kill once the lights went out, and why didn’t they just all hold hands in a circle when the lights went out?
‘Breathing Room’ isn’t a terrible movie and the effort is admirable considering the obvious meager budget but certainly one of writers could’ve come up with a more satisfying conclusion to this thing. Those are just some extra words on paper and that doesn’t cost much at all.