Anecdote: many years ago, shortly after the release of Mark Z. Danielewski's House Of Leaves, I met the author in a Dallas bookstore. He signed a copy of the book for me ("This is not for you", the inscription reads) and answered a few of my nerdy-ass questions. For instance: was there a "key" to the book, some final clue that was waiting to be discovered? And, uh, if so, any hints?
"I'll tell you this," he said, sounding both bored and cryptic. "To get to the real heart of the House, you need a protractor and a compass."
Follow-up question: had Hollywood approached him about turning the seemingly-unfilmable novel into a movie? "Oh, yeah," he sighed. "But I'm not selling. Never gonna happen."
This memory came rushing back at me tonight, as I watched the just-released trailer for DJ Caruso's The Disappointments Room. See if you can guess why.
Look, I'm not making any accusations. The world is filled with strange and inexplicable coincidences. All's I'm saying is, this is a movie wherein two parents (one of whom is a photographer) move their family into a new home (which contains a very large spiral staircase), only to discover that their new home contains at least one room (hidden behind a previously-undiscovered door) which cannot be found on said home's blueprints.
I am also saying that this is not an adaptation of House Of Leaves. In fact, The Disappointments Room bills itself as "Based On A True Story", which is a story I'd very much like to hear sometime in the near future.
Are there similarities here? Oh, yes, many. Is The Disappointments Room a rip-off? Not according to anyone involved, and it would be unfair to claim as much on the basis of one trailer. Is it only reasonable that we give Caruso's film the side-eye until we know more? Perhaps.
The Disappointments Room arrives on September 9th. I think I'll check it out.