Shut-eye Hotel (2007)

*. I like horror movies. I like film noir. And I like the animation of Bill Plympton. This one should have been a can’t-miss proposition.
*. It missed. I’m not sure what they were going for. It’s not funny, or scary, or even very noir. In fact, it’s kind of pointless.
*. A pair of detectives investigate strange murders that have been occurring at the oddly-shaped Shut-eye Hotel. It turns out that the pillows on the bed are actually strange creatures that are attacking people when they fall asleep.
*. Perhaps the ravenous pillow can be taken as representing the subconscious, like the hungry four-poster in Death Bed: The Bed That Eats. Otherwise it just seems a silly kind of idea.
*. If it sounds like I’m trying to read a message into an obvious bit of light entertainment, a short film that’s as fluffy as those feathers that spill from the pillow creature’s guts, it’s because this is a fantasy. Fantasy always makes me think in terms of the symbolic. That giant Dr. Seuss hotel, for example, rising out of a barren plain, without any roads leading into it. It’s part of the landscape of dream.
*. I do like how the animation works, creating a scribbly darkness with volume that light doesn’t penetrate so much as it just digs into. The beams from windows, headlights, and flashlights only make shapes, we don’t get the sense that they’re illuminating anything.
*. Well, it’s an animated short. I guess I shouldn’t ask for too much. But it just seems as though this was a story that didn’t need to be told, at least in this form. In terms of its design though I think it’s very well done.

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