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Across the Hall (2009)

Directed and Story by Alex Merkin Screenplay by Julien Schwab & Jesse Mittelstadt

      We see the Porter (Brad Greenquist) tidying himself up as he goes upstairs to begin to clean out a room, steadily working his way across. Being unlike a typical night in the manner that what he happens to be cleaning up is a crime scene of some sort. Taken back to an undisclosed time we find Julian (Mike Vogel) racing into the hotel and up the stairs to find the trash can fixated between the doors of the elevator. Hesitantly moving forward, finding himself between rooms 507 and 508 as he knocks on one of the doors asking for Terry (Danny Pino). Pulled into 508, finding his friend with blood stains on his shirt and asking why he hadn’t been there, where had he been?

  The setting is an old hotel that doesn’t seem to have anyone to care after it but the Porter. Called to the front by the ring of a bell one night, he finds June (Brittany Murphy) inquiring as to how long her stay would be; offering by the hour if necessary. Finding his banter more than amusing she doesn’t say a word as he leads her up to her room boasting of the hotel’s many attributes. Meanwhile Terry calls Julian, who has retired to a bath to soak his knee. In the midst of their discussion discovers his friend claiming to be across from his wife’s room. Speaking of the possibility of “messing up” soon, knowing of her infidelity. We see Julian speaking with his ex Anna (Natalie Smyka) while in the elevator of the same Hotel. Trying to tear him away from whatever it was he was about to do; proving to be the worst friend ever. Taking a bath after the deed, later receiving the call from Terry (mentioned earlier) hearing of his best friend who is prepared to take out his wife and lover. When hearing of his location Julian jumps up immediately, stating he would meet him there in 20 minutes and not to anything stupid before he got there. We get a great shot of the two staring at each other through the peepholes and Julian devises a plan in calling Terry so he had a chance to make a run for it. Having nowhere to go but Anna’s room, trying to persuade her in going along with saying that she was with him that night, no matter what one may ask. He makes it out of the hotel and doesn’t hear the gun shot, later returning at Terry’s request to finding an unforeseen mishap.

That was the “just” of what happened, give or take a scene or two. Though it felt more like a twisting melody of confusion for the first hour that made you torn on which person to actually feel sorry for. The short film is basically the movie with a “better” ending. The problem with coming out with a movie like this being most obviously; been there done that. It wasn’t a bad choice to show by any means, it just wasn’t something original and thus memorable. The film doesn’t “read” well the first time around if that makes sense. The story was interesting but by 2009 surely something that has been played out. It’s not enough to just have your best friend betraying you, sadly. You have to make it the brother and send the husband out to Iraq and have him disappear, yanno stuff like that. But did the ending suffice the crime? If we’re going to start killing cheaters and blaming it on the lover than why isn’t it being done left and right if made to look this easy. At the end Terry walks away having everything meant to go back to Julian as he walks away. Okay, well won’t he have to be notified and questioned? Won’t he need an alibi and this or that or…I know, I’ve completely over thought this.

If you have yet to see the short film I’ve put it below so that you at least feel as though you’ve watched this movie. Smyka played June in the short film version, though I liked her more as an extra sadly. I’ve seen Vogel plenty of times and think he’s a good actor. He’s rather consistent however so I don’t tend to be disappointed when I see him in a project. Murphy once again did a nice job in yet another thriller, doing a handful of them before passing away. She looked stunning in all three and each had intent on executing them, yet for whatever reason seemed to fall through in the end. Adrian Grenier played Julian of which Vogel was definitely the better choice. I never feel conviction from Adrian and it makes him too boring to watch personally. Pino played Terry and was as well the better choice. Though the guy in the short did fine he felt too dramatic in the wrong ways. Danny kept his intensity and quickly turned on his sly side when leaving the building at the end as some reformed bad ass. Surprise guest by Greenquist (Pet Sematary) and not so surprising that he was the creepiest thing in the movie though the story involved him *zilch.* Though I always like the small cameos done by those in horror films from the past, like that little inner fangirl moment I can have with myself.

Part One: 

Part Two: