“You can check-in but you won’t be checking out!”
Just in time for Halloween, Megan Freels Johnston’s vacation rental horror short Dear Guest is available for streaming. A couple checks into a vacation rental, only to find that the anonymous host likes to play games on its guests. Johnston Freels describes her short as part of an “homage to The Twilight Zone”, and I couldn’t agree more! The film stars Ashley Bell (The Last Exorcism) and Noureen DeWulf (Good Girls) and is available on Vimeo on demand. This weekend Youtube and Amazon will be streaming this short as well. Dear Guest premiered at the Monaco International Film Festival earlier this year.
Johnston Freels is best known for taking us to middle town suburbia, where she tugged at our inner psyche in her feature The Ice Cream Truck. A few years prior, she showed us how solitude and solace could turn deadly in her psychological thriller, Rebound. Known for her character development and twisty story plots, I knew that Dear Guest would have no problem winning me over.
Much to my surprise, Dear Guest takes on a unique premise; I was expecting a typical home invasion or a torture story, Freels Johnston cleverly gave us something much different. Couple Maria and Jules arrive at an Airbnb type property that Jules had booked using an app; not much is known about the owner or the property, fueling the beginning suspense to the story. Jules disappears, and Maria discovers a letter addressed, “Dear Guest.” After opening the letter, Maria realizes that Jules is in grave danger, and she must play the game following the clues to free her lover. The film wholeheartedly delivers on mystery and fear. Many of us have rented a vacation home or checked into an Airbnb; sprinkle that in with this real-life situation, you now have the perfect recipe.
Dear Guest is a well-executed female drive film and carries the potential of becoming a feature film or series. I wouldn’t mind more “mini” episodes as the ending is unnerving and will have your imagination working overtime.
Dear Guest has a runtime of eleven minutes and will provide the perfect segway into your Halloween entertainment this year!
Check out the trailer by clicking here.