Review: 'Ghost Adventures: Cecil Hotel'

Post by: Rick Ellis 03 January, 2021

When it comes to reviewing a special like Ghost Adventures: Cecil Hotel, a lot of the groundwork has already been done. Odds are that if you are thinking of watching the special, you are already familiar with the Ghost Adventures crew. And you likely already have a strong opinion about whether or not you believe that have been regularly finding evidence of paranormal behavior.

And if you are already a regular viewer of the various paranormal shows, then you are likely also already familiar with the Cecil Hotel, an infamous downtown Los Angeles hotel that has been the site of several memorable murders and suicides. And in the 80s, it was also briefly the residence of serial killer Richard Ramirez, nicknamed the "Night Stalker." So as rundown downtown hotels go, this one has a history to it.

Which is why there have already been a number of television specials and episodes about the hotel, which changed its name over a decade ago. It's not that there aren't some odd stories to be told - most notably the 2013 death of Canadian student, Elisa Lam, who was spotted in some bizarre elevator surveillance footage before she disappeared. Only to be found weeks later in the water tower of the hotel. 

But all of these stories have been told before and apparently the reason why the Ghost Adventures crew are going over everything on camera yet again is that for whatever reason, they were given permission to film and roam the hotel at will over several days and nights. I'm guessing that the hotel was empty as part of a pending renovation. But it's not clear why the hotel is empty, only that the cast and crew have unfettered access.

The first half of the special focuses on the Lam case and much of what they show are recaps of the stories you've likely already heard before. The second half focuses on other events and it takes the cast roaming through the rooms once inhabited by various killers and victims. Some psychics and other paranormal investigators make an appearance as the hotel is searched, but the "investigation" is surprisingly lifeless. Voices are heard by different people, but it never seems to be loud enough to be heard on-camera.

Even stranger, the editing of the special is really awkward. Topics are brought up and then forgotten. A couple of scenes feel as if they are missing an opening explanation. I know it's a challenge to produce anything in the middle of a pandemic. But the final results here aren't especially compelling.

If you're already a fan of Ghost Adventures, you'll probably be entertained enough to make watching the special a worthwhile use of your time. But I suspect that anyone who isn't a hardcore fan will find the special to be mundane and forgettable. 

There are some really fascinating new specials on Discovery+. But sadly, Ghost Adventures: Cecil Hotel is not one of them.

Ghost Adventures: Cecil Hotel premieres Monday, January 4th. 2021 on Discovery+.

Last modified on Sunday, 03 January 2021 20:33