Ashley Anderson says Mystery Spot is an interesting story with a confusing and unsatisfying ending.
If there is anything to learn from Mystery Spot written and directed by Mel House, it’s that everyone has a secret. Lisa Wilcox stars as Rachel, a wayward and mysterious photographer. She arrives at a middle-of-nowhere motel to relax and investigate the Mystery Spot, a rundown roadside attraction, with supernatural history.
Rachel serves as a centerpiece for the film’s story. Initially, we follow her as she settles in at the motel. Through her check-in and venture to photograph the mystery spot, other characters are introduced. One of the first people Rachel encounters is Max (Lyle Kanouse), a gay widow who owns the motel and is slightly unsettling and has a tendency to overshare. She then meets Nathan (Graham Skipper), a mildly unpleasant videographer who films audition tapes. It becomes clear that Nathan has a sorted past when Leon (Bobby Simpson II) meets Rachel. He warns her not to go out too late. He sits outside the motel watching Nathan for the majority of the film, documenting the comings and goings of anyone who auditions with Nathan. The relationships of these characters grow as the film progresses, proving essential in revealing their complex backstories.
The story is interesting and the mystery presented kept me motivated to begrudgingly see the film through to the bitter end. Though the suspension of disbelief was intense, the setting was unbelievable and the performances were grating, detracting from the viewing experience. House sets up interesting ideas, but unfortunately, the film’s finale was more convoluted than entertaining.
Mystery Spot was screened at the Chattanooga Film Festival on June 23-28, 2022.