Dinosaur Hotel (2021) poster

Dinosaur Hotel (2021)

Rating:


UK. 2021.

Crew

Director/Photography – Jack Peter Mundy, Screenplay – Shannon Holiday, Producers – Scott Jeffrey & Rhys Waterfield, Music – Michael Ellaway, Special Effects – Scott Jeffrey, Production Design – Rhys Waterfield. Production Company – Jagged Edge Productions.

Cast

Chrissie Wunna (Sienna Woods), Chelsea Greenwood (Zara Smith), Ruby Wattis-Wunna (Maddie Woods), Junior Thompson-Wunna (Peter Woods), Kate Sandison (Sam Jones), Aimee Marie Higham (Ruby), Antonia Johnstone (Nikki), Alexander John (Dean), Nicole Nabi (Jenny Dalloway), Sofia Lacey (Laura Frake), Stephen Staley (Therapist)


Plot

Sienna Woods is struggling to make ends meet financially for her and her two children. Out of the blue, she receives an offer to appear as a contestant on a tv gameshow and win a cash prize. She heads to the Dinosaur Hotel where the show is to take place. With nobody to babysit for her children, she is forced to take them with her, hoping to sneak them into her hotel room. The robot that controls the gameshow permits them in. As the game begins, Sienna and the other four female contestants discover that the gameshow consists of them having to survive until morning while hunted by dinosaurs that have been unleashed in the hotel.


Dinosaur Hotel comes from Jack Peter Mundy, a director who has released a slate of low-budget genre films seemingly all around the same time, including Amityville Scarecrow (2021), Easter Bunny Massacre (2021), The Legend of Jack and Jill (2021), Monsters of War (2021) and Prototype (2022). Also listed on the credits are the names of Scott Jeffrey and Rhys Frake-Waterfield, who have both been incredibly prolific in the arena of the low-budget British genre film in recent years – indeed, Mundy has previously worked as a cinematographer on films by either of them. Jeffrey had a modest hit of recent with Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey (2023).

Ever since Jurassic Park (1993) came out, there have been a great many copycat dinosaur films. In recent years, these have gravitated down towards the B-budget arena with titles such as Triassic Attack (2010), Poseidon Rex (2013), Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs (2015), Jurassic City (2015), Jurassic Predator (2018), Triassic World (2018), Jurassic Thunder (2019), Cowgirls vs. Pterodactyls (2021) and Jurassic Domination (2022), among others. (For a more detailed overview, see Dinosaur Films).

Among these, Dinosaur Hotel has a head-scratching bizarreness. And surely enough, it offers up exactly what it promises – a group of people are chased around inside a hotel by dinosaurs. It feels as though Jack Peter Mundy had obtained use of a hotel that was probably empty during the Covid lockdown and conceived of a film that could be shot in and around it. Certainly, the premise of a group of people entering into a televised Death Game where they are hunted by dinosaurs is an appealing one that deserves a much bigger scaled film than the one we get.

Dinosaurs hunting people in a hotel in Dinosaur Hotel (2021)
Dinosaurs hunting people in a hotel

The dinosaur effects are variably competent, not too bad in some scenes. On the other hand, because this is a low-budgeted film, the scenes in which the dinosaurs appear are limited. Thus most of the dinosaur scenes are ones where they pop up or walk through a scene for one or two shots, minimising the number of visual effects required. This means not too much opportunity to develop drama. That said, there are one or two scenes where Jack Peter Mundy develops a reasonable tension, notably the scenes with Ruby Wattis-Wunna hiding from raptors in the dining room, which have been blatantly lifted from the ones with the raptors prowling through the kitchen in Jurassic Park.

Trying to parse the premise in terms of plausibility – where contestants are selected for a gameshow and taken to a remote hotel where they are hunted through the halls by dinosaurs – leaves you scratching your head. There is no explanation of where the dinosaurs come from. If someone has done a Jurassic Park and genetically re-engineered dinosaurs, could they not think of a more lucrative use to put them to than running some kind of snuff channel where people are hunted by dinosaurs? For the supposed gameshow that is supposed to be going on, you also wonder (nor do the characters ever seem to ask) why there are no camera crews anywhere (although Alexander John does have a line near the end where he talks about hidden cameras).

As usual with Scott Jeffrey films, this is cast with people one has never heard from before (and probably never will again). Lead Chrissie Wunna is not much of an actress, although she does at least bring her two children with her (who plays her character’s children in the film).

Dinosaur Hotel 2 (2022) was a sequel.


Trailer here


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