Taking first place for the worst movie we’ve seen this year; The Overnight is a mess of a movie. Poorly acted and badly paced with an unnecessarily confusing plot.
You’d think with two writers, Mel Hagopian and Richard Harlost, and two directors Bobby Francavillo and Kevin Rhoades, someone would have thought to explain what is going on in The Overnight but that’s not the case. There’s nothing wrong with ambiguity in horror but this takes that too far. Instead of being mysterious, it just ends up being frustrating.
Opening in the 80s, we see a hilarious goth-Satanist in a basement somewhere reading some incantation from a book. Above him, we can hear an argument taking place. The scene then ends with black goo dripping from a drain.
It’s a very puzzling start but clearly something was summoned, right?
Cut to modern times as we meet social media influencer/blogger Jessie (Brittany Clark) and her boyfriend, David (Zebedee Row) who are on vacation and heading to a nice bed and breakfast. On route, they stop at an antique shop where Jessie runs into a disturbing fan and we learn that, apparently, David hates social media and Jessie’s insistence that she take constant photos.
Funny he didn’t mention that before. Still, this will surely play a part in the movie, right?
The important aspects of this antique shop visit from a viewer perspective is the fan and a doll that Jessie takes an interest in, but doesn’t buy. The former will return later in the movie to make the plot even messier, and the doll reappears as the couple are on route to their bed and breakfast. They run over it in the road, where a big nail sticking through, causes them a puncture.
Their lack of interest in how the doll and how it got where it is, is only matched by how little issue a flat tyre seems to cause the car. Oh they pretend it’s the reason they have to stop in a deserted town and stay in a deserted hotel but it’s just another aspect of this film that fails to convince.
So, the hotel. It’s old and creepy. That is something The Overnight does well. As the couple meet the odd and mysterious manager, Salim (Rajeev Varma) this is where the movie momentarily gets good. He’s a bit off, the hotel seems completely deserted and every time his watch alarm goes off, he seems that little more agitated.
Once Jessie and David are in their room, we see Salim rushing from room to room, seemingly making sure things are in place. Dropping off a length of rope in one room, leaving the water running in the kitchen while positioning a hatchet on the edge of the counter, handing another guest a wad of cash and hypodermic needles… it’s all very mysterious and is never properly explained at any stage.
So, here’s our guess work based off what we saw and how little sense it makes.
The opening of the movie summoned a demon. One that possessed a guest who then went on a rampage and killed everyone in the hotel. Except, we see that some of the guests committed suicide. So how does that fit? Then the demon created a time loop that means those who died inside must repeat their deaths. Except, Salim is running around making sure everything is in place for that to happen. So, it’s not a time-loop per-se.
It seems as though the plan is to replace the souls of the demon’s victims with new ones, hence Jessie and David being set up to go to the hotel. Yet, the film goes through an arc where Salim and the hotel owner argue about only needing Jessie and how the arrival of David has messed things up. We have no clue what is going on.
Why does the demon inhabiting the body of a woman need to be sedated and why does it choose tonight to fight back? Is everyone in the hotel already dead? What does the time-loop have to do with anything? How is the demon able to possess others later in the movie and what is the connection with the antique doll and the weird fan?
So many questions and nothing answered. It’s simply this that makes The Overnight such a bad film. However, what pushes it in to terrible territory is the dialogue and acting. The former is surely to blame for most of the poor performances here. Unnatural words spoken in unconvincing ways. Massive pauses to give something ominous weight but instead comes across like ‘smell the fart’ acting. An egregious amount of talking without ever explaining anything. If you’re not sitting there aghast at the nonsense, you’ll be sitting there with your knuckle in your mouth because of the awkward acting and line delivery.
This could have been good. The hotel has atmosphere and there are some decent bloody effects. Imagine a simplified plot that surrounds a demon that was summoned and now tortures the victims of the hotel by keeping them in a time-loop of death. The arrival of Jessie and David gives them a chance to break the loop. Simple and better writing.
Instead we have what we have and it is one to completely avoid. One of the worst movies of the year.
The Overnight (2022)
The Final Score - 1/10