Gialloween Day 6: The Girl in Room 2A
A good giallo, to me, is a visual and aural treat. A uniquely bombastic union of sight and sound. Narrative twists and turns, when executed well are a nice bonus— but those are not unique to the genre. The core of the genre is style over substance. The Girl in Room 2A has barely enough to qualify as a giallo. The disappointing lack of style leaves the audience with a kind of wireframe of what it could be. Parts are there, enough get the general flow of the film; but that’s it. The lack of polish places the film well below the classics and is ultimately worth the time for completionists only.
Margaret is a recently paroled woman who is taking up residence in a local housing unit. The room she is staying in, 2A is infamous for housing pretty girls who go mad and/or end up getting murdered. Once she starts having nightmares about being abducted, the brother of one of the victims steps forward and the two begin to investigate to find the truth behind the doors of 2A.
Not unlike Argento’s Cat o’ Nine Tails, the story has a good foundation to deliver a solid giallo flick. Pretty girls, hallucinations, people going crazy, and murders. This film, more so than Cat, is one where failure of execution leads to the failure of the film. The film itself looks drab. The production value of the film consistently looks off— the best example being the distinctive costume of our killer.
Some gialli films are infamous for being slow burns with little bang. This one is all slow no-go imo. The soundtrack isn’t as grading as Death Laid An Egg, nor is it bad. Most of the times it just doesn’t really fit what is happening on the screen. Victims being chased by the killer are scored to lounge 60’s bossa nova music. A choice like this would be great in a film that had the visual style to match, but here, it is as out of place as the missing S&M / hero costume our killer prances around in.
The Girl in Room 2A is one of the few gialli that have gotten worse with multiple viewings. Maybe it is because I know of so many other great examples of the genre I could be spending my time with. Maybe it is because there is a good foundation, but that’s all it has. Whatever the reason, this is the one film so far in my gialloween series that is not even comically rage inducing like Death Laid an Egg— just quiet, slow disappointment that is best forgotten.