The demonic voice is almost always confessional inner monologue, commentary on what is going on in the current scene, apparently exposing Gordon’s thought process. However, the Gordon we see in the story seems more or less like a regular guy in over his head, while the perspective of the voice-over portrays an arrogant, non-reflective, borderline racist alter ego who, upon committing extremely violent acts, can only lament, “It’s terrible the luck we get in life, only because we’re surrounded by idiots.” While he is certainly surrounded by vile, self-interested characters, Gordon himself is demonstrably no more virtuous.
As the story progresses and the botched caper devolves into a violent murder/kidnapping, Gordon seesaws between justifiably horrified bystander to enactor of grisly violence with little explanation to bridge these enormous character shifts. The disunion between how the world sees a character and their conflicted internal life is initially a fascinating concept. The only problem is, it becomes increasingly unclear whether that is an intentional choice or simply the result of haphazard characterization.
“…never boring and never interested in obeying the traditional rules of any one genre.”
For example, one of the first things the VO announces to us is that “this story is sad, and the goodie doesn’t win.” I honestly cannot tell if we are meant to experience Gordon’s internal monologue as akin to Travis Bickle’s diary—the musings of a psychopath who is sure in his own mind that he is the good guy—or if Keats truly wants us to identify with Gordon as a heroic figure fighting the good fight against privilege, consumerism, idiots, outsiders, etc. Because Gordon’s VO enumerates such broad and disconnected messaging, it is tempting to feel like it’s just the writer voicing his own idiomatic gripes (not unlike a certain supervillain origin story that came out this year…). I would like to believe the views expressed herein are meta-commentary rather than a soapbox, but because the camera does little to subvert the messaging and general vainglory of the voice over, that becomes quite a hard pill to swallow.
Make Room in Hell is ultimately an ambitious and confused film with a lot—probably too much—on its mind. Just what exactly is not always readily apparent, but even when some of its intentions miss the mark, Make Room in Hell is never boring and never interested in obeying the traditional rules of any one genre. And much like a dismembered kidnap victim, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
"…not lacking for style. High contrast black and white photography, a pulsing score..."