BnB HELL ** U.S.A. 2017 Dir: Andrew Jordan. 89 mins
Kimberly Woods is a (tragically) rare black horror heroine in this slick but bland flick, cast as a young woman searching for her twin sister in Hollywood, while also furthering her research into the phenomenon of missing persons – and, specifically, the shortcomings of police investigations unless the missing person is a white blonde woman. Staying at a B ‘n’ B overseen by the creepy Carol Stanzione (“You can call me Mommy -everyone that stays here does!”), she soon discovers hidden cameras in her room and ominous footage of past guests.
Embarrassing dialogue neuters this film’s marginal potential, reaching a low point with the grad student love interest who chats up our heroine with killer lines like “Math is beautiful…it can be used to describe nature…” Elsewhere, characters have a tendency to state the obvious (“That’s a cage”, someone says after we see…a cage) and debuting feature director Jordan resorts to clichéd voyeur POV shots and false scares. Woods is an appealing leading lady but, like the overly familiar mad-matriarch antagonist, is ill-served by the script, and the final act is entirely routine, devoid of shocks or surprises. Thematically, it’s not a million miles away from Kevin Connor’s MOTEL HELL, from which it steals its title, but you’ll be hard pressed to find the satire, fun and fascinating villains of the earlier cult classic.
Review by Steven West