There are far worse places to be stuck during a shelter-in-place order than a swanky hotel. Unless the swanky hotel happens to be Hollywood’s ultra-haunted Roosevelt hotel. (I’d still be down but that’s just me). Home to the first Academy awards ever and a slew of ghosts both living and dead, The Hollywood Roosevelt hotel serves as the backdrop for the new horror movie SHELTER IN PLACE from co-writers and co-directors, Chris Beyrooty and Connor Martin.
Jonathan (Brendan Hines) and Sara Burke (Tatjana Marjanovic) are honeymooning in Hollywood when COVID-19 forces what seems like the entire world into a lockdown. Personally, I find releasing a movie about the pandemic while the pandemic is still going on to be a little tacky, but what are you gonna do? Seemingly alone in the monstrous hotel with a skeleton crew of two, Jonathan and Sara soon find out that being stuck in a hotel in Hollywood will be the least of their worries.
To pass the time, John and Sara occupy themselves by hanging out with Ty (Kevin Daniels) and Adela (Ola Kaminska), the only two staff members remaining in the hotel. They go through the guestbooks, help Adela with tidying up their room, and eventually begin to wander around the empty hotel. From the beginning, the film has a ‘The Shining‘ feel to it: Abandoned hotel, guests unable to leave, weird caretakers, and even a creepy room hiding a deadly secret.
As the days go on, John and Sara become more and more frustrated, feeling the weight of isolation and growing concerned over what is really going on in the hotel and in their relationship. Are the menacing shadows they see a product of stress? Or is the hotel really hiding something sinister.
The hotel serves as a beautiful backdrop for the movie and, if you’re familiar with it, you’ll catch recognizable areas like the pool, the spare room, and sweeping views of the famous neon Roosevelt sign. Although it’s hard to believe that John and Sara would be the only two checked into the hotel at the time of the shelter in place order, it’s effective in helping the audience really feel that isolation, and illustrate just how small one can feel when you’re the only one in a large space.
SHELTER IN PLACE explores the different facets of isolation. Don’t be shocked if you find more than one tribute to The Shining. Although it’s a slow burn and might not be for everyone, it had some cool moments, and I really enjoyed seeing one of my favorite LA landmarks come to terrifying life.
SHELTER IN PLACE is now available on VOD and Digital from 1091 Pictures.