By Vernon Nickerson
Country of Hotels, a new film by Director Julio Maria Martino and Producers Saba Kia and Emily Corcoran is a somber 21st Century homage to Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. Intrigued, gentle movie-watching public? Well if you are still fighting your natural urges to explore a mysterious sci-fi-ish drama, I would add that Country of Hotels was the winner of the Audience Award at the 2020 “Another Hole In The Head Genre Film Festival”.
On a related note, because I apparently was one of the thousands of Southern Californians working 100% online while traveling between hotels and motels during the pandemic lockdown, I had an intense morbid curiosity to watch this film and was totally hooked by its suspenseful opening. Part of the attraction was how well the titular hotel experience matched my own. Right down to the woke-nightmare of biting bed and carpet mites. I deeply enjoyed a crew of dramatic actors mining the tension and humor from an otherwise mind-numbing experience. Actors Adam Leese (as Pauly Blumenthal), Sabrina Faroldi ( as the Maid), and Mia Soteriou ( as the Front Desk Clerk) lead a tight ensemble in heightening the mystery and suspense. Thankfully, low-intensity special effects move the plot along without taking center stage.
See Country of Hotels for a welcome relief to the far too predictable onslaught of big-budget summer blockbusters currently now also on offer. A lonely night in Palatine, IL with a diverse assortment of vaguely Eastern European gypsies and “Ugly Americans”, who could ask for anything more? Don’t forget the popcorn and your favorite beverage! it was one of the Official Selections at 2021 Manchester Film Festival (MANIFF).