Hotel Poseidon is the kind of movie that dares you to be put off by its grimy strangeness. Descriptions claim it’s the depressed tale of a man (Tom Vermeir) caring for his deceased father’s crumbling hotel. While technically true, this is wildly misleading. Hotel Poseidon might be an enigmatic character study. It might be a maniacal treatise on the psychological pitfalls of masculinity. It might be a metaphorical envisioning of hell itself, or a purgatory of peculiar design. Or maybe it’s just the story of a depressed hotel manager named Dave who has extremely vivid dreams.

If you absolutely loved the infamous bathroom diving scene in Trainspotting and wished only that there had been more of it, then this film is for you. Outside of that, I cannot tell you if you’re going to enjoy it–but enjoyment is almost beside the point. ‘Grimecore’ is perhaps the most apt descriptor, as the filthy aesthetics form the core of the film, the baseboard for a deep dive into strangeness and psychic symbolism. The horror comes not from fright and jumpscares, but from an ever-increasing unsettling off-ness that is never explained or, indeed, concluded.

Each new strange detail feels designed to test your willingness to continue, and that in itself creates a kind of compulsion to see what comes next. Most new characters appear covered in a fine white powder of such ambiguous nature that it’s unclear if everyone is wearing clown makeup or is simply covered in asbestos. Are they meant to be dead, or are they simply all going to a very specific kind of club later? Hard to say. Possibly both.

I think my favorite part is the magic pyro psychic woman. That, or the human-sized terrarium. Tine Van den Wynegaert puts in an amazing performance as Amy, an undertaker with an affect that’s a funhouse mirror reflection of customer service. All the performances are solid, but hers stands out.

Final verdict:

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) = 3/5 Cthulhus.

Coulda been weirder. The opening is a little too long and not quite wacky enough to make up for the slow pace, but once it gets going, there is plenty of fun to be had.

Hotel Poseidon is a 2021 Belgian horror movie, directed by Stefan Lernous and released by Arrow. You can view it here: