After inheriting a decrepit sea-themed hotel from his late father, Dave (Tom Vermeir) is technically the hotel manager and spends his days wandering its rooms in a haze. When a young woman arrives looking for a room, Dave agrees to let her stay for a night and before he knows it, the hotel is thronging with quirky characters,
The director, Stef Lernous, has a background in theatre, and it shows, as the film feels a bit like a stage play with a series of speeches from various odd characters. The film has a claustrophobic feel and a visceral atmosphere of decay. I could practically smell all those nasty half-empty fish tanks, so I wouldn't recommend eating while watching this movie.
Hotel Poseidon has been compared with Jean-Pierre Jeunet's 1991 black comedy, Delicatessen. It does have a similar sense of humour but less of a coherent storyline. I couldn't spoil the plot of this movie even if I wanted to because I'm not entirely sure what happened. It's the weirdest movie I've seen so far this year, and given that I also watched Stranger the other day, that's saying a lot. At one point there are a bunch of guys dressed as Jesus grooving in the basement to Soviet Wave music, and I'm still not sure why.
Hotel Poseidon is a quirky Belgian film for fans of surreal dark comedy. It is screening as part of the 2021 Sydney Underground Film Festival.