There’s a hotel somewhere in America with a room numbered 508 which people stay in and never come out in the same way again. When they arrive, they perhaps don’t always have the best intentions nor the best mindset, but what happens in that room changes them forever. It could be said that if you stay at enough hotels then you’re just living in a country of hotels, but it seems that Room 508 has more mysteries to unfold.
Country of Hotels is a horror movie written by David Hauptschein and directed by Julio Maria Martino in their feature debut. Something that many horror fans may not consider straight away, Country of Hotels tells unnerving tales of the human spirit rather than all out horror.
Those expecting a slasher may be disappointed, but there are certainly recognisable influences in the movie’s sense of style.
Taking inspiration from The Shining and perhaps David Lynch’s work, Country of Hotels invites guests to stay while telling their stories for the audience. An interesting way to frame what is essentially an anthology movie, Country of Hotels may leave a lot up to the audience to interpret.
A couple having an illicit affair are first on the agenda, slowly introduced to something which may be living in the vents while they hash out their moral dilemma. An ambitious salesman and vlogger also stays at the hotel, becoming increasingly influenced by the mysterious voice in the vent. Finally, a man being interrogated to find a man’s wife is forced to experience an ever increasingly surreal series of events.
With little connection between the stories and the characters, director Martino displays a flair for style with an almost timeless look to his movie. Something which either works for the audience or just makes the décor look like it’s stuck in the Seventies.
However, the problem is that despite its style and some good performances among its eclectic cast, having no connection and no resolution to the stories may intrigue some and frustrate others. After all, there’s one thing to make an audience think and there’s another to want to confuse them.
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