"Lernous has crafted a mirror with just enough clown-bent in it to show us a comedically more dirty and doomed reflection of our lives..."
- Branden Mayer
Hotel Poseidon, directed by Stefan Lernous, is a damp, sticky, party of a film that takes the audience on a tour of our protagonist’s personal hell. Tom Vermeir stars as Dave, the heir, operator and one of the last remaining live-in residents of the titular hotel, which, judging by the vibe, is likely located somewhere equidistant from the Black Lodge and the Pink Room. It doesn’t really matter where the hotel is though, or even what year it is, because Dave is not leaving. In fact, he’s having a terrible day: the building is being shut, his poor Aunt Lucy is ill, and the strange man renting the hotel’s concert hall is celebrating its conversion into a neon stained ballroom complete with pasty-faced ghouls and new-wave musical acts tonight.
The film follows Dave as he deals with romantic acquaintances, angry relatives and a large cast of otherworldly presences that haunt this bizarrely familiar and dankly stylized place where something as simple as putting on a shirt becomes an excruciating experience. Everyone in Lernous’ beautifully crafted world is radiating with anxiety inducing energy and an equally unsettling gait to match. The situations and intensity shift seamlessly to the off-beat comedic rhythm of the film. Very quickly, you’ll be lost in the chaotic momentum of Dave’s predicament and it won’t take much introduction to his world before he starts to seem pretty painfully relatable.
Hotel Poseidon is a delightful achievement by everyone involved. The performances are all unique and terrifyingly engaging, the cinematography is elegant and precise, the sets all feel desperately lived in for far too long, and the score, though somewhat sparse, is menacing and serves to remind us that maybe this isn’t just a bad dream. Lernous has crafted a mirror with just enough clown-bent in it to show us a comedically more dirty and doomed reflection of our lives, but not so much bent as to stop us from feeling like it might just be us in there.
Hotel Poseidon is screening digitally through Fantasia Film Festival on Tuesday, August 10 at 7:00pm and then again for a 24-hour-on-demand screening window starting Thursday August 12 at 9:00am. We highly recommend you check this one out!