NIGHT AT THE EAGLE INN movie poster | ©2021 1091 Pictures

NIGHT AT THE EAGLE INN movie poster | ©2021 1091 Pictures

Rating: Not Rated
Stars: Amelia Dudley, Taylor Turner, Beau Minniear, Greg Schweers
Writers: Carson Bloomquist & Erik Bloomquist (also produced and edited together)
Director: Erik Bloomquist
Distributor: 1091 Pictures
Release Date: November 2, 2021

NIGHT AT THE EAGLE INN plays like a longer-than-normal but not-bad TWILIGHT ZONE episode. The filmmakers are well aware of this. Their characters name-check that series, along with Norman Bates, Jack Torrance, and even Annie Wilkes. This seems partly to speed things along, and partly as a cheeky assurance that, yes, everybody knows they’re doing a riff on a well-established form.

Fraternal adult twins Sarah (Amelia Dudley) and Spencer Moss (Taylor Turner) are planning to spend the night at the Eagle Inn, a remote establishment in Vermont. This is Spencer’s idea; Sarah is reluctant, but curious. Their father disappeared from the inn on the night the twins were born, and Spencer is keen to find out what happened.

Sarah and Spencer both have some liabilities. Sarah is prone to what may be either nightmares or visions; either way, she’s on psychotropic medication. Spencer simply drinks a lot. But they have the affectionate, bickering banter of siblings who really are fond of each other.

At the inn, it takes but a moment for them and us to know something is off. The innkeeper (Greg Schweers) insists there’s only one available room on the vast property, even though the Moss twins are the only guests.

There is one other person around, handyman Dean (Beau Minniear), who definitely catches Spencer’s eye. Will he turn out to be ally or antagonist?

A lot of viewers will guess some version of what’s happening in NIGHT AT THE EAGLE INN before all is revealed. Also, there is what appears to be a completely inadvertent resemblance between the innkeeper played by Schweers and a disturbed person seen on television that caused this reviewer, for one, to be confused until the end credits. (For those who watch the movie, no, the person on TV is not the innkeeper.)

Director Erik Bloomquist, working from the screenplay he co-wrote with Carson Bloomquist (the two also produced and edited NIGHT AT THE EAGLE INN together) sets up a suitably sweaty, claustrophobic atmosphere.

Additionally, the filmmakers and leads Dudley and Turner create such likable characters that we’re invested in what happens to them. and their motives are credible. It helps that Sarah and Spencer are as pop-culture-aware as the audience will be. This means nobody has to waste time having to be convinced of what we already know.

A special bonus is that Dudley and Turner actually look enough like each other to be plausible as siblings – whether by nature or makeup, the shape of their eyes is remarkably similar.

On the downside, director Bloomquist doesn’t seem able to do jump scares. Also, what’s going to happen is so foreshadowed that by the last third of NIGHT AT THE EAGLE INN, the question is far less where we’re going than how exactly we’re going to get there.

NIGHT AT THE EAGLE INN winds up feeling like horror comfort food. It may help to think of it as a midrange but entertaining TWILIGHT ZONE episode you’ve already seen, but long enough ago that you’re fine with watching it again.

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