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Roman (2006)

DVD Cover (Echo Bridge Entertainment)
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Overall Rating 54%
Overall Rating
Ranked #5,687
...out of 10,233 movies
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Roman is a lonely young man who yearns to find love, happiness and companionship. Tormented by his ungrateful co-workers and trapped in a life of tedium as a welder in a local factory, Roman's one pleasure is his obsession with the elusive beauty who lives in another apartment in his building complex. When a chance encounter with the young woman goes horribly wrong, a moment of frenzied desperation triggers a chilling turn of events leading to the girl's murder. As he teeters between deranged fantasy and cold reality, Roman's struggle to hide his grisly secret is further complicated by an eccentric neighbor named Eva who develops an unlikely attraction to Roman and forces herself into his dark and tortured world. --IMDb
Lucky McKee
Lucky McKee
Nectar Rose
Nectar Rose
Kristen Bell
Kristen Bell
Ben Boyer
Ben Boyer
Mike McKee
Mike McKee
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Review by Chad
Added: April 07, 2007
I've said it before on this site, but it bears repeating in light of the review that I'm about to write: sometimes, a horror movie that is set in reality is infinitely more unsettling than one starring gigantic monsters, the walking dead, ghostly little girls, or serial killers sporting hockey masks. With that said, what could be more real than the quiet guy next door who just so happens to have a couple of skeletons locked away in his proverbial closet? We're constantly hearing about cases just like this on the news, and in each case, we're almost guaranteed at least one "He was such a quiet boy, I never would have guessed it" type of quote from a neighbor or friend. Roman introduces us to that quiet boy next door and invites us to spend a couple of days with him, skeletons and all.

Roman (Lucky McKee) is the "boy" in question, and he just so happens to have an obsession with the girl (Kristen Bell) living in the apartment across from his. He spends his days working at a factory where he heads off any attempts at socializing from his coworkers with awkward silence or simple, one-word replies, but when the day is through, he always rushes home so that he can watch this girl walk to her front door and check her mail. It's an odd thing to consider the highlight of your day, but at least he isn't harming anyone... until, that is, he attempts to actually make contact with her. Things go downhill from there and the lady ends up dead. Soon after, Roman meets another young lady (Nectar Rose) who proves to him that he may have some competition in the obsession department.

Observant readers may have noticed the role reversal for this film: Lucky McKee stars in a film directed by Angela Bettis instead of it being the other way around as it was in both May and Sick Girl. I wasn't entirely sure what to think of this concept when I first heard about it; the duo work great together when Lucky is directing and Angela is in front of the camera, but switching things around? That could have been bad. However, I was shocked to see that Lucky is a damned fine actor and even though this was her first film, Angela makes it seem like she's been doing this for years.

One thing I should point out in this review is that while Roman is considered to be a companion-piece to May in that it shares a slightly similar storyline, the two films are worlds apart in both the execution and tone of the films. Whereas May introduced us to the character and showed us that she was slightly odd before building up to the grand finale, Roman opts to let us know from the opening scene that the titular character goes well beyond "slightly odd." Also, there is no "grand finale" in the traditional sense; the film is unsettling from beginning to end, but the conclusion will be disappointing to those of you who go in expecting an ending similar to May's. Did that make me enjoy it any less? Hell no, as going that route would have likely cheapened the film; however, those of you who don't enjoy movies that rely almost solely on character interactions probably won't share my outlook when the credits start to roll.

As mentioned, Bettis did a damned fine job with her debut film, and I really hope that this isn't the last we see from her on that side of the camera. There are countless scenes which, in the hands of a lesser director, would have been silly or boring at best; here, however, they turn out to be downright creepy thanks to the ways that they are shown to us at home. Take, for example, the "bathtub" scenes found here: those scenes could have easily come across as laughable, but they turn out to be truly unsettling with the way Bettis presents them. The musical score that accompanies the vast majority of these scenes is also pretty good, although there were a few scenes which featured "real" songs where a better artist or song selection probably could have worked wonders.

Overall though, I was thoroughly satisfied with Roman and feel that those of you who've enjoyed the McKee / Bettis duo in previous films will probably feel the same about their latest offering. It's certainly not for everyone - especially those of you who require over-the-top gore in every other scene - but those who can appreciate a film that takes its time developing the story will eat it up. 9/10.
Ginose #1: Ginose - added 03/07/2010, 12:15 PM
Hooooooly fuck, I had no idea this was reviewed here, I wa just about to do it, myself. Totally agreed.
9/10
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