REVIEW: Hotel Poseidon (2021)

dir. Stefan Lernous.

Having inherited the titular hotel from his father following his death, “hotel manager” Dave (Tom Vermeir) has let the Poseidon fall beyond a state of disrepair and become infected with a permanent state of rot. The electrical outlets frequently explode and the elevator sounds as if patrons take their lives in their own hands by entering it. Dave creeps around in a similar state of decay, grey skinned and altogether corpse like, his surreal interaction with the hotel guests – who are more like squatters – descending into madness when a young woman knocks on the door, his aunt dies and a friend wants to throw a party.

A production by theatre company Abbatoir Fermé the film forgoes cinematic logic, being very clearly more a theatrical performance with set pieces and staging as important as characters and plot. Much like The Overlook from The Shining (1980) the Poseidon is as much a main character as Dave: in fact it seems to be a reflection of Dave’s dilapidated psyche with it’s mouldy walls, lack of clear windows and a surreal, internal nightmare. 

Due to its lack of a distinct plot the film lacks any sort of story development – resulting in some serious confusion – sucking audiences in especially as we sink lower into the fever dream of the party scene. For anyone with sensory issues this is a sure overload, akin to the crowd scene in Mother! (2017). The lighting, paired with the expertly designed audio and onslaught of people of uncanny appearance is anxiety inducing, making it difficult to catch a breath. 

An exercise in theatrical mood pieces, and an LSD laced trip into one man’s chaotic mind, Hotel Poseidon spirals into a pit of inferiority, insecurity and confusion. The use of mind-altering substances with this one are not recommended.

⭐⭐⭐

Ygraine Hackett-Cantabrana

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