Attending summer camp for the first time is usually a major life event for a child. It's often the first time that a youth spends a significant time away from home. It's an opportunity to make life long friends and possibly a chance for a first romance to spark. It's also typically starts with a kid that does not want go and ends with the same individual not wanting to leave the new found environment at the end.
We first meet Elvira (Wilma Lungren) as her mother is trying to get her out of the house to go to a weeklong summer camp. Elvira doesn't want to go as she fears that she will be split up with her best friend Sibel then she becomes really distressed upon learning that Sibel is sick and will not go at all. Elvira gripes on the ride to the camp that does not lighten until she is introduced to her two roommates Meja (Elle Fogelstrom) and Be a (Elena Hobsepyan). The girls are escorted to their room by counsellor Jennifer but have to change to long abandoned room 213 due to a water pipe burst in their previous quarters. The room is thought to be haunted by the ghost of a girl that had stayed in the room long ago.
Director Emilie Lindblom takes the camp horror genre down a different rewarding path with this film. Easy jump scares, evil spiritual presences or violent deaths are not the subject matter of the film. The adaptation falls in line with the Ingelin Angerborn's source material. The uneasy moments are more subtle and thoughtfully presented. The spiritual presence builds slowly, first thorough a few missing items then moving slowly into the realm of visual and physical signs. The narrative parallels the ghost story with a regular dose of camp pranks that could be responsible for all that's occurring.
The young cast fall easily into their roles with Wilma Lungren fitting well into the female lead as Elvira. Elena Hobsepyan is particularly strong as the third roommate Bea as misfortune hits her character first leading her to withdraw to the room as popular Meja accuses her of several ills isolating her from the group.
Room 213 is a very watchable ghost story that will appeal to a wide range of ages. It presents horror on an intellectual level rather than a visceral one. The story has all of the elements of summer camp life including mysteries surrounding past attendees, camp games, pranks and adventures that one would expect. However it unique approach to the supernatural element leaning more J-horror than American slasher makes it a film I can recommend.
*** 1/2 Out of 4.
Room 213 | Emelie Lindblom| Sweden | 2017 | 110 Minutes.
Tags: Summer Camp, Ghosts, Ouiji, Mystery, Kittens, Out of Bounds, Summer Crush, Find Me.