Greetings from the Underground!
Mystery Spots are popular tourist attractions that claim to be spots where the laws of gravity and other physics have gone awry. The ruins of one of these attractions serves as the location for Director Mel House’s new horror film. Mystery Spot is about a group of people staying at a hotel that is just outside the ruins of a mystery spot. Two of these people, Rachel and Nathan, find comfort in each other while trying to deal with their dark past. The shadows from their past use the power of the Mystery Spot to become real beings in the present making it harder for the two to move on. If they don’t learn to deal with their troubles, they may find themselves permanent residents of the Mystery Spot.
Mystery Spot is an atmospheric, eerie horror film that is as much of a mystery as it is creepy. The title is very fitting for the screenplay, also written by Mel House. The mysterious nature of the location is slowly revealed to the audience, with House giving us only the clues he wants us to find when he wants us to find them. There is also a wonderful air of mystery around our characters in the first act. When we first meet Nathan, he seems to be just a creepy guy holding auditions in a middle of nowhere hotel. Thanks to the performance of Graham Kipper, we not only grow to understand who he is but also have sympathy for him. Likewise, the motivations of Rachel are not exactly clear but Lisa Wilcox manages to manifest Rachel’s deep pain with such weight that it comes through the screen and touches the audience. Leon, played by Bobby Simpson II, is another person affected by the Mystery Spot. I loved his story and Simpson helps you feel for Leon and understand what drives him.
Many of us have suffered loss of someone we know and or loved over the past year and a half. Mel House uses the horror setting to help address how people handle their grief. The struggle to let go is a common element among the three main characters with each handling their pain in different ways. I love when horror is used to address real world issues or topics and Mystery Spot effectively does just that. While the topic of letting go has been covered before in horror, rarely has it been executed with such precision and meaning as it is in Mystery Spot. What could easily have come off as a campy indie horror is instead one that has a clear real-life message and a solid resolution. Mel House’s editing helps keep the narrative moving at a steady pace. The practical makeup and visual effects never looked cheap; they were very visceral and used effectively. It was only the music where I felt this film could have improved upon, and I would have liked to see more of Debbie Rochon, who does appear in a minor role.
If you are looking for a jump scare, goreathon type of movie then you may want to pass on Mystery Spot. If you like creepy, atmospheric, character driven horror with a smart script that doesn’t talk down to its audience, then you will want to check this out.