EXIT 0 **** USA 2019 Dir: E B Hughes. 94 mins
Do you like weird stuff?
Then the strange old hotel just off Exit 0 is the place that you wanna stay. If you dare…..
Poor stressed Billy Curtis (Gabe Fazio) and his kindred spirit Lisa Morris (Augie Duke) find that this haunted place is certainly not worth their trouble as Billy almost goes over the edge with happenings and sights that plague him as he starts to seriously question his sanity. It’s a good job that Lisa his rock is there to steady his ship.
They discover that they are the only residents in Room 2 of the weird little hotel, except for a somewhat malevolent looking writer (Peter Greave) who adds even more mystery to a particularly haunting and gripping story that stoked up my fear and tension well. The fact that the actor is a dead ringer for the evil Dorian from The Mask added even more flavour to the character for me. My skin started to prickle with paranoid fear and curiosity right from the spooky Desolation style intro that was accompanied by a fitting score by Thomas Simon with some nice use of very atmospheric shots and lighting by William J. Murray within what are small but very effective sets.
Breaking Glass Pictures have put together a great psychological ghost thriller here that will really open your mind. The shady character of Frederick the innkeeper (played well by Kenneth John McGregor) lends both mystery and a friendly face to the piece that helps to keep the Overlook-style hotel aura held together well.
As I watched further with interest there are shades of The Ring here too when Billy discovers an old Scotch tape under their hotel room bed, watches it’s disturbing and brutal contents and his mind really starts to screw up in a film that comes across as a very stylish and creepy psycho ghost adventure that kept my mind fully entertained. If you are a fan of haunted mysteries then you will love this film with it’s small and professional cast in what is a well-paced story that pulls many tortured strings together really well in the end. I started to really feel poor Billy’s paranoid anguish at the lack of belief of the locals in the neurosis riddled little town of Point Reef and the spooky whistling throughout really enhanced this sensation.
Just like at the ‘Hotel California:-
“They can check out anytime, but they can never leave. ”
But can they escape?
Hotels always make for great settings for ghost stories in my opinion and this cracker is no exception as the whole film develops into a wild and at times perplexing ride into haunted local myths where something is really toying with Billy’s sanity in a bad way.
Will it toy with yours too as you reach the fitting finale that becomes an almost real and haunted nightmare?
Review by Nathan Sandiford