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The Lost Room review

Kind of like Treasure Hunt, except it's interdimensional. Fancy!

Sky One • 9pm

Directors: Craig R Baxley, Michael Watkins

Writers: Christopher Leone, Laura Harkcom, Paul Workman

Starring: Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies, Kevin Pollock, April Grace

Rating:

Bangor, Maine. A famous author wakes from a nightmare. It featured a man with a key that could transport him anywhere, a ghostly motel room and a wristwatch that could boil an egg. “What a great idea for a book,” thinks the writer. “Or even a miniseries!” He sits up in bed and turns on the light. The TV Guide on the nightstand is open to the SCI FI Channel’s December listings. Three words leap out at him: The Lost Room. He picks up the magazine and reads the synopsis.
“Damn,” mutters Stephen King. “They beat me to it…”

The Master of Horror’s fingerprints are all over The Lost Room, which is odd, because as far as we can tell he had nothing to do with it. Co-director Craig R Baxley did cut his teeth on several King adaptations (Storm of the Century, Rose Red and the TV series Kingdom Hospital), but he didn’t actually write any of this miniseries, so that must just be coincedence. It’s a mystery, for sure, but suffice it to say that if you’re a King fan you’ll love this.

So what’s it about? Six Feet Under’s Peter Krause plays Joe Miller, a police detective who discovers a key which can open any lock to reveal an empty motel room beyond. From this “Motel Room” (it’s so important that upper-case suits it better) he can open a door to anywhere he wants. Every time he leaves the Room, it resets itself; anything he’s touched or moved goes back to where it was. This becomes a bit problematic when his daughter Anna (Elle Fanning) jumps inside and disappears when the door slams behind her…

Desperate to bring her back, Joe tries to uncover the truth about the Room and the Objects inside it. Each apparently ordinary item has a secret power: a comb can stop time, a bus ticket can teleport you hundreds of miles, a pen can burn you alive… There are over a hundred of them in total, and they’ve been pilfered from the Room over the decades by greedy collectors or secret sects who think they’re a sign from God. Oh yes, and all these people want the Key back from Joe…

It’s a fascinating premise which not only fills out its hefty four-and-a-half-hour running time but also leaves you panting for more (there have been rumblings that a series is in the works, although it’s not looking good). Adding spice to the central mystery there are some great characters such as Ewen Bremner as a man who uses the comb to stop time so much he’s sea-sick. Krause’s character is wry enough to make you root for him, although Julianna Margulies is wasted as the Object-tracker who joins his quest. Best of all is the stunning cinematography – for instance, the Room and its environs are lit by a perpetual orange sunset.

The Lost Room is a magical mystery tour which demands that you take it, a three-part miniseries bursting with so many ideas you can barely keep track. Alas, if only we knew what Stephen King thought of it.

Jayne Nelson

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