'Monday at 11:01 A.M.': Film Review

Monday at 11:01 am Still 1 - H 2016
Courtesy of K Street Pictures

Monday at 11:01 am Still 1 - H 2016

A derivative horror tale.

A couple discover strange goings-on at an eerie hotel in a remote mountain town.

Considering how many hotels, at least in movies and television, seem to be demonically haunted, it's a wonder that everyone hasn't switched to Airbnb. Case in point: Harvey Lowry's new horror film in which a rich city slicker checks into the Overlook Hotel (oh, wait, that's The Shining) where he encounters various creepy characters, including an ominous bartender (The Shining, again) and becomes aware of sinister and supernatural goings-on (American Horror Story: Hotel, but you get the idea). Wearing its multiple influences heavily on its sleeve, Monday at 11:01 A.M. is too déjà vu for its own good.

Screenwriter/producer Charles Agron plays the lead role of Michael, who checks into a vintage hotel for a weekend getaway with his beautiful blond girlfriend Jenny (Lauren Shaw). Things go strangely from the moment they arrive, with the officious front desk clerk rudely telling Michael to leave until the manager intervenes and treats him like a regular even though he's never been there before.

While Jenny is browsing the local shops, Michael, after prominently noting the very specific titular time, decides to check out the hotel bar, where the bartender (genre stalwart Lance Henriksen, lending his estimable presence to a minor role) informs him that "we have a glut of beautiful women." He steers Michael toward one in particular, the stunning Olivia (Briana Evigan), who wastes no time making her amorous intentions known, although she expresses them far more explicitly.

Peculiar things keep occurring. Wanting to go out for an evening stroll, Jenny is advised by the bellhop that it's not a good idea.

"We have … bears," he says ominously.

At one point, Michael hears a violent struggle going on in Room 327 (another reference to The Shining, although apparently one for dyslexics) and desperately tries to intervene despite the protests of the staff. When he finally breaks into the room, he discovers that it's totally empty and is thereafter treated as a crazy person. And he may very well be, since he also sees visions of hooded, satanic figures.

Why don't Michael and Jenny simply check out and head to the nearest Marriott Express? Because the only road out of town is through a tunnel in which a major accident has occurred, leaving everyone stranded for days.

By the time Michael is seen prowling through the hotel's environs with ax in hand, Monday at 11:01 A.M. has become less an homage to its inspiration than a rip-off. And its twist, Twilight Zone-style ending, whose roots go back even further, is one that horror fans won't find hard to see coming.

Director Harvey Lowry infuses the familiar proceedings with an impressive visual stylishness, aided by Emmanuel Vouniozos' blue-drenched cinematography. But screenwriter/producer Agron made a mistake casting himself in the central role. Making his lead acting debut, he not only fails to make us care about his character, he actually alienates us. You'll find yourself wanting to check out as much as Michael does.    

Distributor: K Street Pictures
Production: Charles Agron Productions
: Charles Agron, Lauren Shaw, Lance Henriksen, Briana Evigan
Director: Harvey Lowry
Screenwriter: Charles Agron
Producers: Gary Adelman, Charles Agron
Executive producer: Michael Agron
Director of photography: Emmanuel Vouniozos
Production designer: Rebekah Bell
Editor: John Blizek
Costume designer: Jenava Burguiere
Composer: Corey Allen Jackson
Casting: Ricki Maslar

Rated R, 96 minutes