I bought Playroom for one reason and one reason only. It was directed by Manny Coto, the auteur behind a sentimental favorite of mine. The sentimental favorite? Dr. (motherfucking) Giggles...bow down. Playroom is a different animal altogether. Christopher McDonald plays Chris, an archeologist who returns to the site of his family's brutal murder. The encampment itself is a tomb, an aporetic catacomb that boards a mummy of sorts. The ancient occultist isn't swathed in bandages, but "mummy" sounds more fearsome than "petrified corpse." You'll just have to indulge me. Anyway, Chris takes a cue from Jack Torrance and slowly succumbs to the grapnels of insanity.
The first hour of Playroom pretends to be a pokerfaced thriller. To be honest, it's a chore to swallow, save for the breathtaking scenery (the film was shot on location in Serbia, which stands in for Yugoslavia). The third act shifts gears. Suddenly, I was watching a dinky b-movie headlined by an animatronic zombie, a villain with an armory of wisecracks on retainer. If I didn't know any better, I'd swear that his dialogue was written by Freddy Krueger. It's jaw-droppingly laughable. Playroom is a dishonorable failure, but holy shit, it's entertaining. Of course, it doesn't approach the august grandeur of Dr. Giggles. That, my friend, would be impossible.