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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Review: The Haunted Hotel

Director: Jean Campbell Hogg, Joshua Carver, Adam Collier, Deveril, Joshua Dickinson, Amy L. Feeley, Jane Gull y Toby Roberts

Screenplay: Joshua Dickinson, Amy L. Feeley, Daphne Fox, Stephen Henning, Victoria Manthorpe, Paul Saxton, Robbie Sunderland y Thomas Winward

Year: 2021

Eight stories that take place in a hotel through different decades compose this horror anthology, each directed by a different director. Violent deaths, ghosts, and possessed objects, this hotel has seen it all. Now is time to tell the tales that have taken place there.

The now-defunct Great White Horse Hotel serves as the scenario and conducting thread that embraces the different tales. Starting in 1936 with “Watching”, a story inspired by Charles Dickens’ visit to this hotel all the way to 2019 with “Devil Inside”, the great way of projecting the style of each epoch is one of the distinctive features that give this anthology its uniqueness. From the clothing to the decoration, some of which reminds us of trends that luckily didn’t stand the test of time, the attention to detail is top-notch. In this aspect, the lighting of “Watching” is noteworthy, where a candle is the only light source and creates a great atmosphere.

Except for “Ghost of a Chance”, the seventh story, the rest match each other well and they feel like part of the same story, not just like short films dragged together into an anthology by the hairs. In the case of the short mentioned above, I don’t know whose idea it was to include it in the anthology, but it completely breaks the atmospheric and somber tone from the rest. This story flees from horror and instead tries to be funny, which it fails to be and ends up being a pathetic effort.

The acting, in general, is acceptable, although some stories stand out for their over-the-top acting. A clear example is that of “Ghost of a Chance”, but we already established that this is the anthology’s black duckling. The second example belongs to the third story, “The Contraption”, where the acting is hard to deal with, and it is one of the weakest shorts. Its counterpart goes right before it in “40 Years”, where we see a charming story of a couple celebrating their 40th anniversary and whose acting is from the best of the movie. 

Where “The Haunted Hotel” fails as a whole is that it lacks pure horror and prefers to remain in the line of paranormal themes with some suspense. This opens the doors to a more general public, but we horror fans certainly resent it. We have to settle for the atmosphere, the little suspense it offers and the many other positive things mentioned before.

“The Haunted Hotel” is an anthology made out of eight different short films based in an English hotel. Through the different decades, we see the ghost stories that occur there, which carry a good presence because of their style and atmosphere but where horror is completely absent. Instead, it prefers to timidly approach suspense and leave us wanting to see what could have come out of it if it had embraced the horror genre.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, thanks for the review! We're glad you enjoyed some aspects of the film :)
    As you rightly say, it's definitely not a full-on horror as there's a mix of genres within the collection of stories. Makes it a tricky one for audience expectations, but hopefully everyone can like something in it!