In my darker moments of self-reflection, I’ll admit it. I’m jaded. I know that it takes a lot to please me these days. Whatever I watch, read or listen to, I find myself adopting an unwelcome ‘seen it all before’ attitude and becoming bored within no time. My attention span is dropping by the day and I’m increasingly less willing to invest time and energy in things because I’m so frequently disappointed. Show me something entertaining and I’ll be placated for awhile. Show me something new though? P’schaw! Surely that’s impossible?
Not so! Just once in awhile, something utterly different comes along. The Lost Room is a six part mini-series from Lionsgate TV that has totally blown my mind. I don’t even know where to begin in describing it; you just have to see it. Trust me.
Peter Krause (Nate from Six Feet Under) plays Detective Joe Miller who finds himself the reluctant recipient of a motel room key whilst investigating a pair of bizarre murders. Although it’s marked for Room 10 at ‘The Sunshine Motel’, he soon finds that, no matter what door he uses it with, it always opens into a mysterious room that he doesn’t recognise. When he leaves said room, the door will open to anywhere he wants; all he has to do is visualise his location.
At first, this is all good fun – he takes his buddy to a football game and to Cuba to buy some cigars – but of course, possessing the key turns out extremely dangerous. There are some pretty shady characters who also want such a powerful object. When one such lowlife, The Weasel (played by Hostel 2/Desperate Housewives nebbish Roger Bart), kidnaps Joe’s daughter Anna, the trouble really starts. A rescue attempt gets botched and, in the confusion, Anna uses the key, disappearing into the lost room. The rest of the series follows our hero’s attempts to find his daughter and unravel the secrets of the room.
If this isn’t grabbing your attention, don’t worry. It didn’t grab mine when I read the blurb. But trust me on this. It’s GOOD. Really GOOD.
I don’t think I saw a single twist coming (there’s enough of ’em, too!) and I can’t pour enough praise onto the creators (previously unknown writers Laura Harkcom, Christopher Leone and Paul Workman) for devising such a complexed, careful and utterly believable mythos. Weirdly, for a show that builds itself around mundane objects with special powers, it’s a lot more engaging than anything with superpowered humans in it (not mentioning any current shows in particular – ahem).
This is largely due to the mind-bending scripts, but that’s not to say it isn’t masterfully directed and acted too. Considering the recent Masters Of Horror series were made by supposedly reknowned filmmakers and still looked like cheapshit TV, it’s impressive that The Lost Room plays like a proper movie and everything. There are one or two moments that rate as some of the creepiest scenes I’ve come across and one in particular (mid-way through episode five) had me break out in goosebumps. Possibly the scariest bit of telly this side of Twin Peaks and Ghostwatch.
The acting is first-rate all round too, with Kevin Pollak and Peter Krause particularly excelling. Krause has more charisma in one strand of his champion beard than than the entire cast of Lost and that really helps you to engage with his character from the start, even when he’s plunged into some seriously weird situations.
I find it hard to truly extoll the virtues of this without either giving away the plot or just sounding like some kind of fawning clown, so do yourself a favour and pick up the DVDs. I haven’t been this excited over anything on a screen for years. If I had the money, I’d personally foot the bill for a second series.