Hotel de Sade Film Review

Article by William Kustiono
Edited By Yvonne Lo

On June 18, 2013, the New York City International Film Festival presents “Hotel de Sade”, a Singaporean sex thriller produced by Oman Dhas at Producer’s Club Theater. The film tells about a person named Zhang Li. Convinced that he killed his daughter instead of saving her from kidnappers, he becomes dismantled. He finds himself lured to China seeking comfort at Paradise Hotel, where every worldly need is fulfilled. However, as he journeys towards the inner hotel, he finds darkness surrounding the mysterious hotel.

In the movie trailer, there is a quote taken from Aristotle, “Fear is pain arising from the anticipation of evil.” This means that the expectation and anticipation for pain to occur makes us fearful, which makes it entirely evil. Imagination plays an important factor when watching horror films. We believe and suspect that something long anticipated will occur, and when it does it can inflict pain onto us. At Paradise Hotel, everything and any demand is possible. However, if we were truly in paradise, why would we want to order pain? This does not make any sense. Perhaps some people feel better in a state of pain (i.e. masochist type), but in this film the hotel will only offer comfort or worldly pleasure to the customers. The hotel also kidnapped children and young adults and use them to please their customers.

The movie itself is very confusing. For the first half hour, the plot only tells partial story and even though it is a self-budget movie, it is terrible. The plot does not mention what Zhang Li really wants until the last 15 minutes of the movie. The fight scene was a joke, bad performances throughout and it’s not even a fight. The guards don’t know how to fight, they just stop in front of him and let him punch them in the face or kick them. Maybe they should add a script that says, “Hey, I am going to get you, but wait, I am not allowed to touch you or hurt you, just hit me!” There was a scene where they dressed a mentally abused child wearing a complete set of roman armor, helmet, and a real sharp sword. After he brutally murdered a customer, he just swiftly murdered every guard he encounters in the hotel. The child becomes invisible and not a single guard can land a punch or kick to him. The guards are completely worthless, they are only armed with sticks and they don’t know how to use it properly, they just wave the sticks all over the place. They have scary face, but in the battle, they are just cannon fodders.

Overall, the movie does not match our imagination on the trailer. Maybe the director put the quote from Aristotle to make the movie fancier, but it has nothing to do with pain or masochist. It is not even a horror movie. Scary Movie was funny, but this movie was not even funny or scary, it’s a joke. The trailer looks great, but when we watch the movie, it will be a different experience.

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