A young woman's hunt for her missing sister ends at a rundown bed and breakfast in the Hollywood Hills run by an ill-tempered woman called Mommy. Disturbing messages left by former guests suggest unsettling secrets lay buried there.
Straight to the point - I've seen much worse as far as feature-length directorial debuts go; Andrew Jordan's BnB Hell is at the very least, an inoffensive horror-mystery. Having peeped the opinions of other media site reviewers, I completely get the criticisms. The film isn't very complicated, it isn't pushing narrative boundaries, the technical aspects are rough around the edges, and performances (with the exception of Rudy Dobrev) can come across as stilted or over-the-top. Yet, in the face of those deficiencies, not once did the film lose my attention. From the moment Willa (Kimberly Woods) arrived at the bed and breakfast to begin her investigation, to the somewhat distressing finale, I was engaged enough to want to see the film to its conclusion. A lot of this is attributed to BnB Hell's main strength, its atmosphere.
Almost the entire run time, there is an ever present sense of dread helping to compound the emotional effects of the story's disturbing nature. And what should be, on their own, fairly tepid moments of horror, end up being elevated closer to a sinister level, and BnB Hell gets very close to being scary. This isn't a back handed slight either, not at all. There aren't many horror films, low budget or otherwise, that can claim to legitimately scare its audience without resorting to cheap jump scares. So job well done to the production team on that front.
Unfortunately, the few moments where this atmospheric consistency is disrupted, end up incredibly hokey and completely change the tone of the film. Not to give anything away, but we are introduced to a couple characters that are a better fit for a straight to video Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequel. Thankfully their screen time is mostly kept to a minimum, and BnB Hell, as a decent feature length launchpad for Andrew Jordan, remains a horror film worth a watch. Rent or buy at the link below: