The TIFF Kids International Film Festival is close to wrapping up, but there’s a few gems that are still worth checking out. While teens are unlikely to be moved by the charmingly chill ghost flick Room 213, it’s perfect for a younger audience, with a simple story and zero horror histrionics.
Directed by Emelie Lindblom, Room 213 is based on a Young Adult novel from Ingelin Angerborn. The Swedish feature has an earnest and effective multiracial cast, with Elvira (Wilma Lundgren), Meja (Ella Fogelström) and Bea (Elena Hovesepyan) playing new friends who meet at a summer camp. A faulty sink forces the trio to take a new room, the haunted space of the title, and soon tensions between the three surface as prized possessions disappear at night. The ghost story itself is slight, with a background that’s barely filled in, but the dynamic between the girls hits the right notes. Their quicksilver alliances shift as they flirt with boys and the hot potato of blame for the thefts gets passed around between them. Sleepwalking, strangely altered photographs and spooky presences in the night soon have the girls changing their tune, as they begin to suspect some other force is at work.
Room 213 manages to conjure some decent atmospheric chills, without ever veering into the heavier tropes of sex and violence that pulse through most horror films. For the twelve-and-under set, and the parents who shepherd them, it’s a cute diversion that certainly won’t make for sleepless nights. (If you’re renting, just be sure not to pick up the Room 213 from the Philippines, which is a risqué erotic thriller! Also, you might find the film under its Swedish title, Rum 213.)
Room 213 is playing as part of TIFF’s Kids Film Festival, showing at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto on Saturday, April 22 at 12:45 p.m. and on Sunday, April 23 at 12:30 p.m. The director Emelie Lindblom will be in attendance at both screenings. More info can be found here.