Crime scene: Cecil went missing in hotel, Is a terrible watch. But not for the reasons you would have expected.
Focusing on the infamous Cecil, a serious hotel located in the city of LA, it tells the story of Alyssa Lam, a Canadian student who went missing at the hotel under mysterious circumstances, before being later drowned.
It is a dream of a true crime documentary. Granny security footage shows a person lum, spooked and awkward in an elevator as they approach another person…? A wretched spirit haunting Cecil? Who can tell Later, Lam’s dismembered body is found face-down in the hotel’s water tank, mimicking the actual plot of the Japanese horror classic Dark Water. Residents were washed with water in that tank for many days before drinking, washing and massaging their teeth.
With that kind of a mystery, and a great director in Joe Berlinger (previously responsible for classics like Brother Keeper and Paradise Lost) you’d expect a crime scene: watching TV disappear into the Cecil Hotel. but it’s not like that.
not even close.
This is bad And not just bad. Crime Scene: Cecil has disappeared into the hotel, bloated, lethargic and confused. It is irresponsible and dishonest, incorporating conspiracy theories that put more vulnerable victims already vulnerable.
Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Crime Scene: The punishment for disappearing at the Cecil Hotel is long. In vain long. What happens in four, one hour long episodes can be dealt with easily and in a single feature length episode.
In what has quickly become a Netflix documentary trend, Cecil Hotel is in painful need of an edit – playing for time with details endlessly repeating, meaningless segments and pointless interviews. Is this a matrix issue? Do Netflix documentaries endlessly scale up their projects?
Regardless, Cecil Hotel boosted my patience for fake tastes and false cliffhangers.
Watching any serialized documentary series demands tolerance for the intentionally planted red herds, which quickly resolve in the following episode, but the Cecil Hotel does some fairly unforgivable stuff.
A particular piece of information, deliberately withheld near the beginning, is used for suspense and debate around the nature of Lam’s death Entirety Only to resolve almost carelessly at the end of the show’s final episode. Hours of unnecessary speculation and – at times – baseless accusations on police and hotel staff are all completely and utterly pointless. There is a border here and the Cecil Hotel bounces it past.
Which leads me to the worst part of this documentary: Internet sleuths.
In an effort to stretch the show’s runtime, the Cecil Hotel fills minutes of screen time with a rotating cast of “Internet sleuths” – YouTubers essentially – from mildly awkward to downright creepy. These bridges spend hours of controversial footage digging through Elisa Lam’s social media accounts, making derogatory claims on YouTube channels.
Through these poor, the Cecil Hotel applies all kinds of conspiracy theories, giving them credibility and respect. Only to reveal – in the final 10 minutes – that much of what he had said was almost done.
This is a technique that is dangerous to border.
The endless trip to the Cecil Hotel, via Alyssa Lam’s Tumblr blog, feels uncomfortable like reading someone’s teen diary – but Lam’s mental health struggles are considered paramount for the matter that it surely makes sense. However, unintentionally dissecting these strange sleeps (a friend told himself to touch Lam’s gravity) on camera is a step too far.
But this is nothing compared to the treatment of Pablo “Morbid” Vergara, a death metal singer oddly trapped in a vortex of unfounded speculation. After stumbling on a YouTube video documenting a stay at the hotel, internet people accused Morbid of killing Lam and dumping his body in a water tank.
Not only this, the Cecil Hotel documentary obscures the fact that Morbid Hotel stayed at 12 Month Before Lam’s disappearance for almost the entire runtime, it applied the wild conspiracy theories he was involved with to his death. Using footage of his death metal video, along with the death metal lyrics, it deliberately creates a narrative that his involvement in Lam’s death is a viable possibility.
Only later do we discover that, not only was Morbid in the United States at the time of Lam’s disappearance, he was extremely harassed and threatened to the point where he attempted to take his own life and one Were terminated in psychiatry. Hospital. Based on the same type of Internet sleuths that have been given a very large, unethical platform in this documentary.
This documentary was pushed to the brink by an online mob, which could have been responsible for Lam’s death, for spending half the man, which is insensitive and potentially harmful.
But it is par for the course with Cecil Hotel, which takes a crazy, slam dunk story and somehow makes it not only boring, but aggressive by giving a platform to a group of people who are actively taking matters into account. Derailment and hurt people.
The Cecil Hotel could have been a tight, concise mystery. This can be a warning about online communities and collateral damage when they assume expertise. But it is none of these things. It is a lengthy mess of a documentary that disrespects its audience and the story it is trying to tell but worst of all, insults the victims.
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