Directed by Ben Jagger, ‘Room 203’ is a unique horror-thriller film that manages to make something new out of its age-old tropes. The story follows lifelong friends Izzy and Kim, who find cheap accommodation in the city of Quincy. While Kim dreams of becoming a journalist, Izzy aspires to be an actor. Meanwhile, their stay in the city spirals out of control thanks to a hole in their otherwise vintage and enchanting apartment. The story deals with mythical creatures and familial legends, all tied to the titular room. You must wonder if the story is steeped in an actual case of haunting. Also, where was the movie filmed? Let us embark upon a thorough investigation.
Is Room 203 a True Story?
No, ‘Room 203’ is not based on a true story. However, behind its veil of horror, the story indicates how much youngsters yearn for affordable accommodation and how they would look past the apparent red flags to board a room. The housing problem may have some truth, especially in urban spaces, but the horror is seemingly fictional. Ben Jagger (‘Corbin Nash’) teamed up with John Poliquin and Nick Richey to write the screenplay for the film. In the process, they adapted the J-horror novel of the same name by Japanese novelist Nanami Kamon.
Much like the movie, the bestselling J-horror venture revolves around two roommates who find themselves in a room infested with vengeful mythical sprites and demons. Following its publication by Kobunsha, the novel garnered much praise in and outside Japan. Therefore, the horror depicted in the movie comes off as the absent, subdued kind that J-horror movies often portray.
While the traditional Western representation of horror often deals with possession, exorcism, and robust devils, its Japanese counterpart usually dwells in the absences. Consequently, the movies build on suspense and psychological intrigue rather than dreadful creatures. From ‘Kwaidan’ to ‘Pulse (Kairo)’ to the popular ‘Ringu‘ franchise, the genre has undergone a remarkable evolution, delivering chilling movies. Some of the popular J-horror tropes the movie uses are poltergeists, mythology-infused ghosts, psychological intrigue, sleepwalking, and the hole in the wall.
However, by placing the film in the traditional US backdrop, the director created a defamiliarizing effect. The dramatic treatment of the film brings out the essence of its characters. Although, it nullifies the horror elements to an extent. However, by prioritizing character study over cheap scare tactics, the director has coated ‘Room 203’ with commendable realism.
Room 203 Filming Locations
‘Room 203’ was filmed in its entirety in the US, especially in Louisiana. Principal photography commenced in October 2020 and wrapped up sometime in November of the same year. Joel Froome handled the bulk of the cinematography. His past credits include ‘The Rainbow Bridge Motel’ and ‘The Puppet.’ On the other hand, Hannah May Roark (who was in the art department of ‘The Highwaymen’) came on board as the production manager.
The southeastern US state of Louisiana features enticing geographical characteristics and a confluence of cultures to lure cinematic productions. The urban spheres of the state can be doubled as any city in the country. The state government promotes in-state filming by subsidizing productions. As per the Louisiana tax incentive program, eligible productions can squeeze a tax credit of up to 40% of their expenditures in the state. For these reasons, Louisiana has established itself as a reputed cinematic production hub. Let us now take you to the specific locations where the movie was filmed.
Almost all of the movie was filmed in and around Shreveport, a city in the northwestern part of the state. Since its establishment in 1836, Shreveport has become a crucial juncture of commerce in the region. The township’s name comes from the Shreve Town Company, the development and housing company that thought of setting up a township at the meeting point of Red River and the Texas Trail.
Since local filmmaker Eric Gibson acted as a producer on the project, the cast and crew had little difficulty finding perfect locations to set up their horror venture. Most of the movie was seemingly filmed at the former Commercial National Bank building (renamed as The Standard Downtown Lofts) at 509 Market Street in the city. Formerly a commerce building, the property was remodeled as a loft complex, much like depicted in the movie. Several sequences were also possibly framed on carefully constructed movie sets.
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