Grimmfest 2021: Night At The Eagle Inn

A thoroughly likeable film about two siblings seeking to find out more about their past.

Synopsis: Fraternal twins spend a hellish night at the remote inn their father disappeared from the night they were born.

There is something to be said for films that have the conviction to be as long as it takes to tell their stories – in some cases, that will mean three-hour-long sagas and for others, like Eagle Inn, what the film sets out to do is done and dusted in around an hour and 10 minutes. This keeps everything sharp, trimming any unnecessary sections and maintaining the focus on the central sibling relationship and providing the scares. Like director and writer pair Erik and Carson Bloomquist’s previous outing, Ten Minutes to Midnight, there is a focus on using established horror tropes to create something more interesting.

Twins Sarah (Amelia Dudley) and Spencer (Taylor Turner) head to the Eagle Inn to further investigate the strange circumstances around their birth. Having lost both their parents, the pair have a somewhat morbid interest in their origins, taking to recording a podcast. Soon, strange happenings at the Inn start to feel too close for comfort for the pair.

Amelia Dudley and Taylor Turner are really the heart of this, presenting the close, but sparky relationship between the pair convincingly. Their close bond, formed from the early tragedy in their life has given them elements of gallows humour but this never tips over into anything nihilistic nor unlikeable. As the film progresses, their interactions with Dean (Beau Minniear, delivering a gleefully entertaining performance) sew a little friction between them, but the threat throughout is definitely focused upon the Inn.

The titular Eagle Inn is described within the film as having a kind of ‘nondescript gloom’ – a sense of something very wrong running through it. Indeed, the film itself utilises J-Horror scares as well as more conventional ‘hotel horror’ and other ghost story tropes, blending them together. The result is perhaps not wholly original and it is possible to read some of the narrative direction in advance of its arrival, but a fun take on them that contributes plenty in the way of scares, structure and uncanny imagery.

From an explosive opening, all the way through to the conclusion, Eagle Inn feels like something that succeeds due to its restrictions, rather than in spite of them. It is clear that there is not a huge budget so everything is designed to wring the maximum effect out of what is available, leaning on the charming performances and skill of the film-makers to draw the viewer in. The shorter length will put some in mind of episodes of series like The Twilight Zone, ably building and concluding an entire world within just over an hour.

A short, sharp, sweet and occasionally campy take on the haunted hotel film that delivers likeable performances and a clear confidence with the material at hand.

4 out of 5 stars

4 out of 5 stars

Night At The Eagle Inn plays as part of Grimmfest 2021. See the Grimmfest page for more information.

Author: ScaredSheepless

Film and television fan, with a particular love for horror.

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