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Hotel Inferno 2: Cathedral of Pain (2017)

Picking up immediately after the events of part one, this film continues to follow Frank and this time we see him arriving in Hell following his death. I love anything that deals with the idea of Hell or even more so uses it as a set location for its films. So when I found out the sequel to one of the biggest surprises of the year for me was to use the concept of escaping Hell in order to to unite his soul with his body, I was more than excited. Sticking with the POV filming from the perspective of Frank that is so uniquely established from part one, the cinematography is very much the same as before, only this time it feels a lot more polished and refined. With such incredible set pieces, I think the director does a brilliant job of using lighting carefully to really help amplify the feel and tone of the film, keeping everything dark in a big majority of scenes and only focusing on the brutality on display as we maneuver through the corridors and passageways. It is without a doubt the practical and make up effects that once again take centre stage with these films. This time looking much more blood soaked and gorier then what has come before, something I was pleasantly surprised by given how violent the first was. The biggest and most enjoyable use of this is in the creation and the design of the creatures/demons from Hell. Granted, some of them do look slightly cheap and homemade at times but for me that is part of the charm with these films, I think I would find them less entertaining if they were Hollywood standard. There is more use of CGI here but it is done in a controlled and minimal enough way that it doesn't feel to distracting in comparison to everything else. The voice acting is also a vast improvement. We still have the same lead actor return (Rayner Bourton) to play Frank once again, however this time around he doesn't sound anywhere near as ridiculous or annoying as he did previously. We are also introduced to a new character - The Witch voiced by Roland Stone, who is certainly the more convincing of the two actors we hear. His role is a very similar one to Jorge in part one, acting as a guide/helper you would have in most video games. This still give you that sense of first person perspective gaming from the first. This seems to embrace its video game similarities much more than before. As we follow Frank through Hell collecting multiple artifacts and weapons in a side quest fashion in order to make it through an ever-increasing difficulty of levels, all featuring bigger and more menacing bosses as we go. He also now has the the ability to recover his health in the same way you can in a game, something that could only be possible and believable give the total shift into another realm. I think these are elements that you need to embrace in order to have the full intended experience with these films. This is another solid entry in a hopefully growing franchise. Featuring one of the best depictions of Hell I have seen put to screen this really was a very entertaining watch. With both of these films clocking in at just under 1h15m I would strongly recommend you check them out. The filming perspective isn't going to be for everyone and if you didn't enjoy the first then I don't think this one is going to change your opinion on that.


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