The horror and mystery thriller Country of Hotels (2019) tells the stories of the desperate souls who pass through the doors of 508, a room on the fifth floor of an anonymous, decaying hotel.
We are taken on a surreal and blackly comic journey down its lonely corridors and behind its outdated furnishings and stained surfaces. The story plunges us into the ever-turning carousel of haunted lives who check in and out of the establishment. Adulterers, lonely businessmen, and hustlers grapple with their demons while prying, occasionally sinister hotel staff always seems to be within earshot. Inside this hotel the mundane transforms into an implement of threat; a faulty light fixture appears to contain a hidden camera; a heating unit whispers to guests with increasing menace; a television set randomly flips channels, displaying TV shows which reveal a guest’s secret paranoid fantasies; and a stray look into the bathroom mirror becomes the quickest way to disprove your existence.
This is the debut feature film of London-based director Julio Maria Martino. He is a theater director who has adapted several plays by David Hauptschein, who is here the screenwriter of Country of Hotels (2019).
The main cast of the film is formed of Adam Leese, Sabrina Faroldi, Siobhan Hewlett, Ben Shafik, Mia Soteriou, Colm Gormley, Eugenia Caruso, and Robert Shannon.
Country of Hotels (2019) has collected several awards and nominations after being part of the Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival, Another Hole in the Head Film Festival, Manchester Film Festival, Arizona Underground Film Festival, Nottingham International Film Festival, North East International Film Festival, International Horror Hotel Film Festival, and Chicago Filmmakers.
Terror Films has the distribution rights for the movie and has scheduled it for a release on digital platforms like Tubi, Kings of Horror, and Amazon on May 26, 2023.
In the words of the director Julio Maria Martino, “When we were making Country of Hotels (2019), we worked hard to create an environment which was relentlessly oppressive and claustrophobic, occasionally punctuated by moments of dark humor. An enclosed world in which an unseen, unnamed and mutable threat lurked behind hotel room doors and down long lonely corridors. A threat which might manifest itself suddenly and at any moment. In visualizing this world, I felt we were trying to create something highly idiosyncratic and very different from the outward appearance of most people’s daily lives. Indeed, Country of Hotels (2019) was meant to be about an alternate reality – what happens if you step into a decaying, dilapidated hotel, lose your mind, and never leave. However, increasingly over the past few years, people’s daily existences in many parts of the world have come to resemble this experience. As in Country of Hotels, computer and television screens, together with the sounds of our own voices, have become our closest and most reliable companions; and the person knocking on our door brings with them a potentially deadly message”. […] “Saying all of this, I don’t wish to imply that this film is a prediction of pandemic lockdown but the more I consider people’s responses to it the more I realize that, in the past few months and years, it has fundamentally shifted from fantasy, towards reality”,
Watch the official trailer for Country of Hotels (2019) here.