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Dante’s Hotel (2023) Review

If you thought WalMart rushed the holidays on us, they’ve got nothing on Tubi. For the latest Tubi Original, they’ve skipped right past Christmas to give us Dante’s Hotel, a New Year’s Eve themed horror film that begins on New Year’s Eve 1975 in the Dontene Hotel. A young Daniel Brayer (Tristan Riggs, Scare Package, The Seventh Day) axe in hand, stands over twelve dead bodies including those of his parents.

Twelve years later it happens again and Daniel is there again. Both times however the bodies vanish before they can be taken to the morgue, leaving Daniel a free, if very troubled man who has taken up permanent residence in Room 1224.

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For 2023 the hotel has hired Goldie (AnnaLynne McCord, Titanic 666, The Weapon) to run their New Year’s Eve bash. It’s an anniversary for her, one year of staying sober. It’s also twelve years since the last disappearances but neither she nor the hotel’s manager Mr. Goldie (Ted Raimi, The Evil Dead, Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader) are going to let that spoil the festivities despite Mr. Brayer’s (Judd Nelson, A Tale of Two Guns, Relentless). But when Kristoff (Brent Bailey, The Stairs, Night Train) is handed a VIP ticket by a hooded figure and then promptly takes a dive off the roof, they may have to reconsider.

Dante’s Hotel is another partnership between Tubi and The Asylum, so it’s not surprising that Anthony C. Ferrante (Zombie Tidal Wave, Sharknado) directed it and provided the story that William C. Martell’s script was based on. While his recent credits may be few and far between, back in the 90s he was writing the scripts for DTV titles like Droid Gunner, Night Hunter, and Virtual Combat, which is certainly better than the resume of many Asylum writers.

And he does do a decent job of making Dante’s Hotel’s rather far-fetched story come together. Although it’s a bit of a stretch when Detective Stone (Moon Bloodgood, Terminator Salvation, Pathfinder) reports back on Kristoff’s death only to find her superior was first on the scene for the second set of disappearances. First on the scene for the initial set? His father, of course.

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Thankfully once the party gets started and Father Time (Kevin Porter, The Most Dangerous Game, American Fighter), who looks more like The Grim Reaper, starts handing out more V.I.P. invitations things start to get blood., And details like that matter a lot less when people are being sliced open and tied to columns with their own intestines.

And Dante’s Hotel does get quite bloody, especially for a Tubi Original. Apart from Father Time’s scythe slicing up guests, there’s a scene with hands dragging a victim into a wall, tearing him apart in the process and another victim is cut in half by an elevator door. Even more surprising for an Asylum film, the effects are mostly practical, with CGI reserved for a few shots of the hotel’s exterior and the horde of ghosts that appear near the climax. Sadly, they’re mostly at the level we’ve come to expect.

Director of Photography Michael Su (Automation, Bermuda Island) manages to get a bit of atmosphere out of the brightly lit hotel, but the film would have benefited from a convenient power outage. The scenes in the hotel’s more dimly lit backrooms and phantom spaces are better for the lack of light.

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The plot, a mix of ideas from The Beyond, Bloody New Year, and The Shining among others, has a European feel to it, with the lighting in a couple of scenes reminding me of Argento. That’s not to say that Ferrante is suddenly on his level, but Dante’s Hotel is better than anything I’ve seen from him previously and the first of his films I’d call good since Boo.

Much better than I was expecting, Dante’s Hotel is an example of what Tubi and The Asylum should be putting out. Enjoyable, no frills films with just enough splatter to satisfy the fans without breaking the budget. Whether you watch it now or save it for December 31st, it’s worth watching.

Dante’s Hotel is to watch free with commercials on Tubi.

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