THE WAITING *** USA 2020 Dir: F.C. Rabbath. 90 mins
Stirring music plays over the credits, as the movie beginning with two hotel cleaners – at ‘The Lodge’ – try to clean a room (#101) as fast as they can, aiming to complete in less than 60 seconds; a mysterious start to a hauntingly mysterious film.
The colours are vibrant as we first encounter Eric (Nick Leali) in a local bar, on a series of less than successful online dating encounters, each one less successful than the last.
Unlucky in love, a very excitable Eric starts a new job at the very same large, privately owned hotel – as seen in the opening minutes, his mother having put a kind word in for him to get the position, her knowing the wife of the owner.
A very keen and enthusiastic Eric throws himself wholeheartedly into the job, rubbing many members of staff up the wrong way, as he tries to prove himself to the manager and keep in sustained employment.
We hear a rumour about the room the cleaners were nervous around; a person had died in it many years before and is still haunting the suite.
Eric meets Sally (Laura Altair) and they strike up a friendship, which carries on through the film, Sally finding him ‘sweet’. She tells Eric that the place is haunted, which he initially doesn’t believe, thinking that she and Michelle (Michelle Feliciano) are joking, but the hotel manager (Larry Kastner) confirms that the rumours about the room are all completely true.
Eric goes to visit the room, but changes his mind, keeping hold of the key.
The following day he visits the room and encounters a glowing female spirit and from there on, the remarkable story of their friendship grows.
Eric – who more than resembles a larger version of the actor Seth Rogen – spends the rest of the film very concerned about the woman in the room and trying to get her to leave the hotel, due to the revenue dropping and possible closure and demolition on the horizon.
The milky eyed spirit of room 101 is Elizabeth Wilson (Molly Ratterman) who overdosed in the room when her lover Sean Davis (David Raizor) never returned and she had stayed there ever since, waiting for her lover to return.
Communicating via text messages – which seem highly appropriate given Eric’s preference for media based dating – Eric and Elizabeth strike up an ethereal friendship which borders the area between the real and the spirit worlds.
A very poignant story then follows. A tale of unrequited love and hotel based poltergeist activity, in an amusing and rather sweet way, for a low budget film.
The story isn’t what you’d class as a horror film, but more of a romantic spiritual encounter and a very pleasant one at that. Directed by F.C. Rabbath, a director since 2006, who has made a mixture of feature length and short movies, many using the same cast members repeatedly.
Definitely a film to enjoy if you are looking for something relaxing and ‘nice’, not a film for the avid ‘gorehound’ or anyone looking for jump-scares.
Review by Ian Carroll