Somewhere in present-day England, Dinosaur Hotel, a new underground gameshow is all the rage. Its concept is very simple, a group of contestants are sent to a lavish old hotel and hunted by dinosaurs. Survive for twenty-four hours and win a huge cash prize.
Sienna (Chrissie Wunna, Dragon Fury) is desperate for money to support her and her two kids, Peter (Junior Thompson-Wunna) and Maddie (Ruby Wattis-Wunna) after she’s either been dumped or widowed. Desperate enough to apply to be a contestant on Dinosaur Hotel, although she apparently didn’t know what she was getting into. She’s so clueless in fact that she sneaks the kids in since she can’t get a babysitter.
Sienna, Zara (Chelsea Greenwood, Amityville Scarecrow, Spider in the Attic) and the other contestants are led outside by a small floating orb. There they see a pterodactyl. They’re rapidly informed that the dinosaurs are real, a signal blocker will prevent them from using their phones and all but one of them will die. May the odds be ever in your favour.
It probably comes as little surprise that this is yet another film from Scott Jeffrey (Conjuring the Genie, Cupid) and Jagged Edge Productions. This time however he’s just producing it, Jack Peter Mundy makes his feature film debut, (he’s already got three more completed), from a script by Shannon Holiday (The Leprechaun’s Game, Pagan Warrior).
I honestly don’t know just where to begin with this one. Let’s start with the idea that all these women turned up at a remote hotel based on nothing but a phone call and an email. And with no idea of what to expect. None of them thought that was a bit odd? Or that it sounded like a great way to end up sold to the highest bidder?
The next mystery is, where did the dinosaurs come from? Discovered alive in a remote part of the world? Created in a lab? If so, where did the technology come from? And why is it being used for, of all things, a snuff show for the rich and depraved? And how do they keep these creatures hidden?
The Jurassic Games from a couple of years ago had a somewhat similar plotline. But it made the games a government-sponsored, virtual reality version of the Roman Coliseum which covered up many of the plot holes Dinosaur Hotel ignores.
Unlike in Dragon Fury, we do see quite a bit of the creatures in Dinosaur Hotel. However, while that film the effects ranged from passable to bad, here they’re uniformly awful. Even the little orb looks fake and badly inserted into its scenes. I give him credit for trying something on a bigger scale than usual. But if Jeffrey is going to do films like this, he’s going to have to do fewer of them at a bigger budget if he wants to compete with the companies doing these films already. The results here fall short of even the crap like Ape vs. Monster that The Asylum cranks out.
Plotwise, Dinosaur Hotel isn’t anything special either. Characters play hide and seek with the dinosaurs before mostly meeting a bad end. The film finds various ways to split them off and get them alone, one of which involves one of the kids and a cave. That actually had potential but unfortunately, it’s mostly wasted. There’s the inevitable contestant who’s actually a plant and a mysterious Gamesman (Alexander John) pulling the strings who turns up at the end. It’s all been done before, and while this isn’t quite as bad as Funhouse, it’s still not remotely close to good.
Dinosaur Hotel is available to stream via ITN. You can check Jagged Edge’s Facebook page for more details.