THE OAK ROOM is a thriller that offers several twists. Mostly by the way the story is told, which is extremely engaging. I’m a big believer that a good story is all you need. To me, this is a great example of just how well it can work. Read our full The Oak Room movie review here!

THE OAK ROOM is a new thriller with a relatively small cast and just a few settings. Most of this movie plays out in two different bars with some flashback moments that take place outside these bars.

It works really well because storytelling is the name of the game for this thriller. Also, the characters are wonderfully written and the casting is perfect. For this one, you just need to sit back and listen to the story. Seriously, this is the actual concept of the movie and it’s awesome.

Continue reading our The Oak Room movie review below.

What’s the worth of a good story?

In The Oak Room, one character literally wants to pay off his debt by telling a story. It’s a good one, obviously, but still, it begs the question; How much is a good story worth? In the case of this movie, it’s everything. For the characters, the same seems to ultimately be the case.

Of course, a good story offers twists along the way and maybe it also needs to be “goosed up”. Yes, this is also a theme in the movie. One that’s explained quite efficiently as well. And yet, the main story in The Oak Room definitely is not in need of any embellishments

I do realize that I might be a bit biased since I always feel that a good story is a key to good entertainment. For others, it might be the visuals or the acting. And sure, those things are key to a great movie, but without the story, there is no movie. The recent Apple TV+ series Calls was a perfect example of this.

Well, in my book, anyway!

THE OAK ROOM review

The male cast of The Oak Room

As you may have guessed from the headline above, I do have one issue with this movie; The fact that not a single woman appears on the screen. If the opposite had been the case, this would have been labeled a “movie for women” or a “chick flick”. I don’t think the inclusion of a female character would have ruined anything and I’m always amazed at how easily women can be entirely excluded from a story.

For the record, there are many women attached to the production of this movie behind the camera, so I’m not suggesting the filmmakers of excluding women altogether. I just wonder how much they even notice the absence of women in their story, is all. As a woman, I certainly do notice it!

Having said that, I did love the cast of this movie. Essentially, three characters are key to the story, so I’ll namedrop them and not say too much to avoid spoilers.

There’s the bartender Paul, played brilliantly, as always, by Peter Outerbridge (V-Wars). The storyteller, Steve, played by RJ Mitte (Breaking Bad), starts out being so damn annoying, you want to smack him. Which means he’s doing the job perfectly! And the main “star” of the story being told, who is played perfectly by Ari Millen (Rupture).

If you’ve watched Orphan Black, then you’ll know Ari Millen is an actor with a million faces. He played many characters in the Orphan Black series since he was a clone. In smaller roles, we see Nicholas Campbell (Black Mirror “Arkangel”) and Martin Roach (Locke & Key), who should both make quite the impression on you.

Watch The Oak Room on VOD

The Oak Room was written by Cody Calahan with a script written by Peter Genoway. Cody Calahan previously directed Antisocial (2013) and Antisocial 2 (2015) along with Let Her Out in 2016. All three have IMDb ratings under 5, while this latest movie is currently (as of writing this) at a comfortable 5.8 which it definitely deserves.

Last year, Cody Calahan had both this new movie and then Viscious Fun released. The Oak Room premiered at Fantasia in August 2020 and Viscious Fun premiered at Sitges in October 2020. Right now, Viscious Fun is at a 6.5 rating on IMDb, so clearly, he seems to have found his mojo. Also, since it’s a horror-comedy, I am very excited about getting to watch that one.

Having said that, this movie would land on a 3½ out of 5 for me, but since we don’t do half-rating here at Heaven of Horror, I’m boosting it to a gorgeous four. The storytelling in this movie is definitely worth it!

The Oak Room is out on VOD on April 2, 2021.

Details

Director: Cody Calahan
Writer: Peter Genoway
Stars: RJ Mitte, Peter Outerbridge, Ari Millen, Martin Roach, Nicholas Campbell, David Ferry

Plot

During a raging snowstorm, a drifter returns home to the blue-collar bar located in the remote town where he was born. When he offers to settle an old debt with a grizzled bartender by telling him a story, the night’s events quickly spin into a dark tale of mistaken identities, double-crosses and shocking violence.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard