Friday, January 13, 2017
Every Haunting Hour Ever #53: Checking Out
Original Airdate: January 19, 2013
Director: James Head
Writer(s): Melody Fox
Hey there everybody! This is Azu here and welcome to the first Haunting Hour review of 2017! Woo Hoo! Anyway, as some of you might know, one of my New Years Resolutions is to finish and polish my Haunting Hour pasta before the year is over. Well, I'm currently working on the 15th chapter of the pasta as we speak. If you would like to read the current version of the pasta, tell me in the comments below and I'll be happy to link you to that version.
Bratty teens Jeremy (Matthew Knight) and Chelsea (Matreya Scarrwener) are on a family vacation, which gets delayed when the family car gets a flat tire, then a mysterious hotel appears out of a fog. At first the parents (Allison Hossack and Barclay Hope) are told there are no vacancies, until the kids come in, and the parents receive an opulent room and an invitation to an adults-only party by fellow guest Mrs. Baker (Teryl Rothery). Jeremy follows them to the party and sees Mrs. Baker bashing a piñata that looks like her son Todd (Grayson Gabriel), who also is spying on the party. Suspicious, Jeremy and Chelsea investigate, and witness Todd being backed into the portrait of 'The Benefactor' by his mother, which opens and sucks Todd in. When they try to escape the hotel, they are caught and their parents are coerced into doing the same until Jeremy reminds his mom "If they were jumping off a bridge, would you do it too?". The parents come to their senses and they all escape as the hotel burns.
One of the things I liked about the episode was the character development. For me, the development of the characters flows very naturally and I felt like the growth didn't happen too fast or too slow. In the episode, the main characters start out as a family that doesn't get along. But once they are put through the hotel of horrors, they start to bond with one another and grow together. In other words, at the beginning of the episode, the kids start out as real brats but when their parents start to act strange, they become concerned for them and by the end, they start to appreciate them and all that they do. Not only that, but the parents also loosen up a bit and the father lets Jeremy drive the car at the end, which was something that was forbidden at the beginning of the episode.
Another thing I liked about the episode was the portrait. Let me explain. You see, in this episode, it's established that children who have stayed at the hotel, like Todd, have been sucked into it, only to never be seen again. We don't know where they go but that's kind of what makes it both horrifying and interesting at the same time. Have you ever heard the phrase, "Sometimes what you don't see is scarier than what you do see"? Well that phrase pretty much describes the reason why this portrait is so scary. In this case, it's left up to the viewer's imagination to figure out where they go, which could be scarier than whatever is put on screen.
The third thing I liked about the episode was the moral. So the lesson in this episode is about the importance of respecting and appreciating your parents as well as your children. For me, I felt like the teaching of the moral was done well. For the most part, the episode takes advantage of a visual medium by well... showing you why you should respect and appreciate your parents and/or kids! Not only that, but both parties (the parents and the kids) learn something and grow as characters, which I thought was a neat addition.
The only problem I have with the episode is the ending. Oh don't get me wrong! It's not a terrible ending (I mean we do get that little bit of character development from the father when he hands the keys to Jeremy) but it seems rather abrupt. I mean, after we see the portrait get hit by the candelabra, the episode cuts to the family outside the hotel. I think the ending could've been better if there was some sort of chase scene involving the family and the guests as the hotel falls apart between those two scenes.
Overall, Checking Out is dark and very unnerving, especially with the whole portrait and child hating cult thing going on. If you can stomach the somewhat weak ending, I think this is an episode you'll enjoy!
Overall Grade: B+