Bad Ghost Parenting

The Disappointments Room

Dana Barrow, an architect, is suffering from severe mental goon-out after her market-fresh daughter died. So she moves out of Brooklyn with her not-dead 5-year-old son and husband David (I forget what his last name is) into the aptly named Blacker Estate in backwoods North Carolina. Good luck finding a decent taco truck there. The Blacker Estate, while previously full of mansion-y grandeur and tragedy back in the 19th Century, has sat for decades, abandoned, if you will. Something to do with the death of its owners.

The Disappointments Room

Doesn’t take long before Dana, already dealing with more than a few burnt out bulbs on the ’ol mental marquee, starts “seeing” things, like a her son Lucas soaked in blood and a German Shepherd dog that may or may not bark with a foreign accent. Then she sees a light in the attic. Since they haven’t been up there and the door is perma-locked, it can only mean one thing — there’s a ghost squatting, rent-free.

The Disappointments Room

She checks the house blueprints and sees no indication of that room even being there. Scooby Doo-ing the crap out of this mystery, she finds the entrance to the ghost room blocked by an armoire, or “big ass cabinet.” She cleverly finds the key, goes in and gets psyched by visions of a young girl being parentally bullied. This causes Dana further reality-functioning failure.

The Disappointments Room

After shaking off the burn, she does some research and discovers the house was owned by Judge Ernest Blacker, and that his daughter Laurie died the same day as Dana’s daughter. You can see where this is going. The Judge used the attic as a “disappoints room,” a place where money-flush socialites hid away their children who were born with deformities/abnormalities. (Yes, the parents were Republicans.)

The Disappointments Room

Dana stops taking her meds and soon has more icky visions. Then a grave with Laura’s deformed body is discovered by the handyman. The Judge manifests, clobbers him with a shovel (all ghosts pack garden tools) and leaves him hanging from a tree. Dana then notices the light again in the attic, not smartly goes back up there, and “sees” visions of the Judge murdering his handicapped daughter with a hammer. I don’t care which side of the Law you stand — this was not cool.

The Disappointments Room

The ghost of Judge Blacker moves on Dana’s son, but she grabs the tool and decides its hammer time. David arrives to see Dana bashing the memories out of her son’s memory foam bed. Thankfully, no one was in it at the time…or was there?The Disappointments Room

Things finally come to a boil that is Dana’s saucepan head, and the secret to her mental throw-downs are revealed — and it has less to do with the Judge and more to do with her daughter’s death. Pretty harsh.

In all The Disappointments Room (2016), based on real things our not-so great grandfathers/mothers did for the sake of staying in high society’s haughty graces, is thematically ugly, but lacking any real scares. (Ghosts with hammers — yawn.) Still, the twist at the end will stick in your mouth like polter-peanut butter.

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