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By Rory L. Aronsky | January 26, 2005

“Motel” cooks with enough lit matches and gas to cause a few good explosions, showing the adventures of a guy (Jonathan Klein) driving at night and coming upon an abandoned motel. That’s right, kids. Abandoned. Every great amenity such as porn, food, and booze is set out at no cost to the newly-arrived guest, but there’s no one here. Curiosity about the establishment at first gives way to him enjoying all this newfound free stuff. But what have we learned over the years about abandoned motels in motion pictures? There’s always some kind of trouble lurking around the edges, just waiting to pounce and destroy. The prime and most obvious example is Norman Bates killing Marion Crane in the original “Psycho”. Director/writer Thor Freudenthal has a few creative flourishes on tap, such as an opening which would be conducive to a big-bang sci-fi film, in swooping through the title. Freudenthal also has “Star W****s” waiting for the unsuspecting guest, only part of an array of pornography and the little we see and hear of it is pretty well-produced.

However, the ending is the biggest problem of “Motel”, which is too much of a cheap joke and while it’s good for a few minutes of thought as to how in the heck this guy got around over there, the obvious ending comes through blindingly clear, a few seconds before we end up with…..this. Freudenthal’s got a good eye and talent that would be worth seeing in other works, and this is a fine start.

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