This entry is perfect. Scurrell is amazing as the in-over-her-head lead and her chemistry with Hollingworth, who is charming and menacing in equal measure, is excellent. The editing between Betsy in the room and Eddie looking for the hotel manager, as their lights keep flickering, creates a remarkable amount of tension. The effects are also some of the best in The Haunted Hotel, as ashes of destroyed buildings fall about the intact, pristine room. Then there’s the ending, which works sublimely.
Director Deveril and screenwriter Joshua Dickinson’s Housekeeping, set in 1997, follows a new hotel staff member named Maisie (Rocio Rodriguez-Inniss). Her first day of work sees her futilely try cleaning one specific room. It does not matter how often or thoroughly she does so; a malevolent force messes it all up again. The chambermaid finds herself trapped in a Sisyphean battle for dominance of the room, one she’ll likely not win.
Rodriguez-Inniss is good as Maisie, effectively selling the frightful nature of the strange occurrences. The pacing is good, though the lack of motivation on the specter’s behalf hurts this narrative’s overall impact.
Ghost Of A Chance, written by Paul Saxton and directed by Jane Gull, follows Bob (Miles Jovian), a ghost-in-training in 1968. His mentor Miss Jenkins (Kate Cook), has to make excuses for him to the home office, who’d rather be rid of him entirely. Now, Bob has one last shot to prove that he can be scary.
“The acting and production values are astounding, as are the costumes on display in each era.”
This entry sucks. It is terrible in every single way imaginable. The acting is far too over-the-top and grating. The hows and whys of the story make no sense — is Bob just pretending to be a spirit to stir up business? If so, why not just hire a real actor and let Bob be a regular hotel employee? A twist happens that suggests this is the case, but that then begs the point of the earlier 6 or 7 minutes and the reason we are watching him “train.” No matter how one slices it, this segment makes no sense. It baffles the mind as to how this low-class drivel snuck its way in here, as the second-worst segment is still several million leagues better than whatever the hell this is.
The present-day set Devil Inside is the concluding tale of The Haunted Hotel. George (Paul Moriarty), Mickey (Jon McKenna), Lennie (Dan Rutter), Mountain (A.G. Longhurst), Terry (Peter Sowerbutts), Tonka (Peter Byatt), Pat (Peter Purnell), and Dobby (Nick Murray Brown) are aging-out mobsters who go in for one last job. They bring on Hobbit (Kyle Malan), a hacker who helps with the technologically advanced heist. Afterwards, at the hideout, George’s reality seems to be slipping away, as his partners-in-crime are disappearing before his eyes, and he’s seeing them as ghastly, decaying apparitions.
Toby Roberts masterfully directs this harrowing segment from an intelligent screenplay by Stephen Henning. The characters are efficiently set up, George’s plight pulls at the heartstrings, and the editing adds to the terrific, eerie atmosphere by creating suspense at every turn. It is a brilliant segment to end on, as it is satisfying, scary, and engaging, and easily the second-best (Room 27B still edges out just by a bit).
Excluding the inexplicable inclusion of Ghost Of A Chance, which is painful in all the worst ways, The Haunted Hotel is a great anthology. It meshes horror, drama, and comedy engagingly with a truly interesting hook. The acting and production values are astounding, as are the costumes on display in each era. While it’s not entirely flawless, the movie proves to be a worthwhile journey overall.
"…satisfying, scary, and engaging..."