L'Hotel de L'Abre Mort (The Dead Tree Hotel)
This short was one that hadn't really grabbed me when I read up about it, it sounded like so many other horror films I'd seen before. Couple in the middle of nowhere get lost in the middle of the night, and a lone figure on the road gives them directions to the nearest, seemingly deserted hotel.
Yes you can see where this is going, but that's not the point here, it's the journey, not the destination, if you'll pardon me resorting to an Aerosmith line.
This short is quite a surprise because it's filled with so much humour and yet keeps the tension going well, a big surprise when dealing with horror because humour can so often pull the audience away from being scared and so is often used to break tension for a few moments, not as a staple course of the film.
The film looks good and seemingly carries higher production values than most. Shot at night the lighting is still natural and subdued, and the dialogue remains natural too, apart from the odd horror cliché thrown in.
I enjoyed this French short, although the story itself isn't one that would bring me back again. It's a short humorous look at a typical horror plot and with a satisfying ending too. However it ultimately doesn't bring anything new to the genre, and without some of the dialogue and the wittier moments it might well be overlooked.
Film official site
Dead by Dawn Horror Festival