22nd Apr2013

‘No Tell Motel’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Angel McCord, John Hawkes, Charlie Howes, Rileigh Chalmers, Andrew MacFarlane, Chelsey Reist, James Tyce | Written by T.J. Cimfel | Directed by Brett Donowho

No-Tell-motel-cast

Actor turned director Brett Donowho (5 Souls, The Sacred) is back behind the camera for his third film, No Tell Motel, which follows Megan Walsh and her friends who, after being stranded in the middle of nowhere, are forced to spend the night in an abandoned roadside motel. Little do they know the crumbling structure is haunted by the spirits of its former owners, including a vengeful little ghost named Angela. As the haunting turns violent and the group’s number dwindles, Megan realizes that the key to her survival lies in uncovering the secrets of the motel’s tortured past. And even that might not be enough to save her.

Yet another in the incredibly long line of “wrong place, wrong time” haunted house flicks that have proliferated horror movies since the early days of the genre, No Tell Motel won’t win any prizes for originality. Or for anything else for that matter. The script, first time screenwriter T.J. Cimfel, sems to think it’s a lot cleverer than it actually is, although come the second act the film is nothing more than a series of (literally) WTF? scenes – as in the characters walk round and round saying “What the f__k?”, “What’s going on?” and “Where is [insert name]?” ad infinitum.

With subplots about the group and how, just like the motel they’re in, they have secrets too, No Tell Motel could have been a great Ten Little Indians style horror thriller. Instead it’s an insipid little film that seems to think all you need to do to make a scary film is turn off the lights. It’s not. You need atmosphere, you need chemistry between the cast, you need characters that you care about, and most of all you need to be invested in proceedings. None of which you can say about this film.

I will give credit where it’s due, No Tell Motel did seem to strive to be something more than the standard ‘teens in peril’ haunted house flick but without a decent script or a decent budget there was no way this way going to be anything more than another forgettable DTV horror flick.

No Tell Motel is out now on DVD and VOD.

* 1/5

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