Rating: 4 out of 5.

Finding the perfect place to stay can be a hell in its own right. What happens when the very grounds may hold the answer to a dark part of your family history? Erik Bloomquist’s darkly comedic new horror mystery, Night at the Eagle Inn, proves itself to be one utterly bonkers overnight stay… in hell! Taking a page from the very best in hotel-set haunts (The Shining, Vacancy, The Innkeepers), the horror here is carved from the trauma of the past. A brother/sister bond and a fun Nancy Drew vibe elevate a simplistic concept that is much more fun than it first appears.

Spencer (Taylor Turner) and Sarah (Amelia Dudley) are fraternal twins who have always longed to tell one crucial story: their own. Located 355 miles outside of Philadelphia with but a single car in its lot, The Eagle Inn sits majestically, waiting for its next victims. It opened back in ‘87, and the new interstate destroyed their walk-in market. The biggest curiosity lies in 1994–Joseph and Mary Elizabeth Moss stopped for comfort during a nor’easter, just before the birth of their twins. Mary was dead by dawn, but Joseph has been mysteriously missing ever since. Armed with recording equipment and a hunger to right the wrongs of their orphaned past, Spencer and Sarah check in for a stay at the Eagle Inn…

The weirdness commences almost instantly when they arrive, finding a note saying to ring the bell when indeed there is no bell. Their stay is free, since only a suite is available due to alleged work being done on the other rooms. They are forced to sign an antiquated guest book at the urging of the overeager hotel manager (Greg Schweers) who offers to give them “a stroll around the property.” Both are drawn to the hunky grounds maintenance guy, Dean (Beau Minniear), with Spencer proclaiming him to be a “snack attack.” The manager invites them to attend a happy hour later that night. Separately, both Spencer and Sarah fish for clues that may help solve the disappearance of their father.

I fell in love with both twins; each has traits to balance the other out. The chemistry bleeds into every bit of their snarky dialogue. In voraciously pursing their past, Spencer and Sarah neglect their potential futures. Taylor Turner and Amelia Dudley are both so good playing with their sibling dynamic; it brought to mind the rapport between Trish and Darry in 2001’s Jeepers Creepers. Though the conclusion is far darker than anticipated, Night at the Eagle Inn never loses sight of the fun element that permeates throughout.

The splash of vibes from The Ring did not go unnoticed; the concept behind the static and images from the televisions—and their significance on the plot—is just a sample of the brilliant scripting. At a slight 1 hour 10 minute runtime, is actually serves to speed up the pace of what would otherwise be a slow-burn horror movie. In sampling some of the best influences of various genre picks, it accomplishes a great deal over such a short length. Night at the Eagle Inn gave me instant vibes of the classic Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Goosebumps episodes. An anthology TV-show format could be a perfect way to continue the intrigue of Night at the Eagle Inn… I know I’m ready to book my stay wherever Erik Bloomquist goes next!

Night at the Eagle Inn signed the guest book at the 2021 Popcorn Frights Film Festival.

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