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Grimmfest 2021 Film Feature - Hotel Poseidon

Directed by: Stefan Lernous

Written by: Stefan Lernous

Starring: Tom Vermeir, Ruth Becquart, Anneke Sluiters, Tania Van der Sanden, Dominique Van Malder

 


 

Synopsis: Dave inherited the dingy and dilapidated Hotel Poseidon from his late father. He lives there and works as manager, and rarely seems to leave the place. The days and nights all bleed together. His existence is a hopeless one. When a young woman knocks at the hotel’s doors one night looking for a room, and his best friend shows up wanting to throw a party in the backroom, Dave's world starts to spiral out of control, and his sense of reality starts to be shaken by recurring nightmares.


Grimmfest say: A sour, sweaty fever dream of alienation and repression, this plays like some manic and macabre mash-up of Caro and Jeunet's DELICATESSEN, David Lynch at his most dreamlike and disorientating, and the League of Gentlemen at their most baroquely grotesque (right down to the protagonist, somewhat improbably for a Flemish-Belgian, being called “Dave”). A series of increasingly bizarre and nightmarish vignettes, in which Dave struggles to regain control of his environment, his life, his sanity, his basic sense of reality as everything spirals out of control around him, this is a truly wild ride; consistently startling and surprising, full of twisted, pitch-black humour, and eccentric, oddball performances. And the cinematography and production design, are just jaw-dropping. You can almost smell the grime and decay, almost feel it on your skin. Dark, disconcerting, and weird as all hell, this is a truly immersive cinematic experience that you won't forget in a hurry. But you might well feel like you need a long hot bath afterwards.


What I'm expecting: Described by Grimmfest as a "fever dream of alienation and repression", this is already an interesting sounding movie, and this description of it immediately brings to mind Robert Eggers' The Lighthouse and Dario Argento's Suspiria. Imagine a combination of these two films; a dizzyingly nightmarish dreamscape-like atmosphere, worthy of a Lovecraftian epic, but with more emphasis on League of Gentlemen's unique brand of grotesquely dark humour, and I reckon you're onto a winner. Of course, as with any film with "eccentric, oddball performances", there's always the risk of that all-important eldritch horror underpinning being lost in favour of farce and camp, which worries me a little. But, as with any film of this type, good cinematography and production design are the most important things to get right. Grimmfest's words on this matter ("truly immersive cinematic experience") are incredibly reassuring and give me high hopes for Hotel Poseidon, as this is one of my favourite genres of horror!

 

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