directed by James Mangold
Written by Michael Cooney
William Lee Scott
Rebecca De Mornay
Pruitt Taylor Vince
This is one of my favorite movies of all time. It has all of the qualities that make a great film for me; suspense, atmosphere, horrific violence, a mystery, and a wickedly intelligent twist. It has excellent stars playing great characters, and all the actors give top performances. It takes a classic mystery and turns it on its head, while adding modern, non-chronological filming and exciting pacing.
Eleven strangers become trapped in a desolate roadside motel as a storm and resulting flood cuts off their escape. Roads are closed in either direction of the motel. To make matters worse, Ed Dakota (John Cusack) accidentally ran into a woman and she is badly hurt, and Officer Rhodes (Ray Liotta) was transporting a dangerous criminal from prison and has to stay the night at the motel with the prisoner. So these 11 people are stuck at this motel and one by one they are being murdered according to the room numbers they are in. In the meanwhile, we see clips of a hearing regarding a death row prisoner who is not one of the eleven people in the motel. If this part seems disconnected from the rest of the film, don’t worry, it will connect in wonderful fashion before the film’s end.
There are many WTF moments in this film as you think you’ve figured out the killer, but then that suspect turns up dead. Gruesome murders occur in the film as the motel attendants dwindle, but there’s no real gore. If you have seen this film you probably know why I regard it in high esteem. If you haven’t seen it, you owe yourself to watch it.
A stark thriller, combining hard-boiled mystery and horror, tightens the suspense until a surprising twist ending.
I give it 5 mangled mystery twisters out of 5 on the scale of malignant murderous maniacs
Yesterday upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there.
He wasn’t there again today,
I wish, I wish he’d go away…
Excerpt from a poem titled, Antigonish by William Hughes Mearns
parlor of horror – movie review