I’m not sure if hotel/motels have always been portrayed as breeding grounds for horrible shit or if Alfred Hitchcock kicked off the trend back in 1960. Regardless, films like Psycho, The Shining, Vacancy, 1408, and many more have all experimented with the idea of unspeakable acts being performed inside the, presumably safe, walls of these establishments.
That said, Night at the Eagle Inn, while in a completely different stratosphere in terms of budget, has far more in common with The Shining or 1408 than Psycho or Vacancy. But that’s not to say it feels cheap—quite the contrary. Writer/director Erik Bloomquist essentially provides the blueprint on how to properly write a script that suits your budget. While it certainly lacks any big SFX sequences or expensive ghostly apparitions, Night at the Eagle Inn excels at prioritizing good ‘ol fashioned mystery and suspense to drive its plot forward. But if another slow burn haunt-fest doesn’t fit the bill for what you’re looking for, rest assured that this one is far more gripping and aggressive than you might expect.
Clocking-in at a breezy hour and ten minutes, Night at the Eagle Inn follows siblings Sara and Spencer Moss as they investigate the titular Eagle Inn. After being greeted by an overtly creepy front desk attendant and bumping into a surprisingly hunky handyman, Sarah and Spencer enter their room before finally acknowledging how creepy the vibes are and immediately decide to leave as quickly as possible. Unfortunately for them, their night is just getting started.
While performances from cast and crew members are certainly strong and enjoyable, it’s the biting musical composition from Gyom Amphoux that elevates the events on-screen to another level. Some may find it a tad aggressive, but it’s not something typically found in a movie of this subject matter or scale. For a film that was seemingly shot on a modest budget, the sound is a real highlight—that applies to musical composition, field recording, and mixing.
Beyond that, Bloomquist handles the film’s scare sequences brilliantly. While there may be a jump scare here or there, most revolve around making the viewer uncomfortable through strange, voyeuristic tapes of previous guests at the inn. Things are made all the more creepy by the explanation of those tapes. It’s a unique twist on something that could have gotten extremely formulaic real quick. If you’re looking for something spooky that’s all killer and no filler, Night at the Eagle Inn sure to serve you well. It’s surprising and well-crafted horror that will appeal to genre fans of all walks. Give it a shot once it becomes widely available.
Night at the Eagle Inn screened at the 2021 Popcorn Frights Film Festival.