Ember Burns’ ‘The Motel’ (2020) Short Film Review

I absolutely love Ember Burns (read our interview with her here) ever since I first saw her as Heavenly Holly in Slaughterhouse: House of Whores 2.5 (2017). Ember is a woman of many talents: acting, writing, directing, and modeling. She really can do it all. Recently, she released her short horror film, The Motel, her directorial debut, and it’s definitely something.

The Motel is a short film from Writer/Director Ember Burns. The film stars Natalie Claire, James Burney, Matt Kane, Jeff Joslyn, Kali McCue, and Rob Motoc.


This is a story about a young woman who works for an assisted suicide pleasure motel. You can come and have one last good time before taking your final breath. Only, the motel holds a deep, dark secret.

The Motel isn’t quite like anything I’ve ever seen before. It features a motel where terminally ill individuals go to get one last moment of pleasure before being violently killed so they don’t have to suffer through a long illness. This is definitely a cool idea, and I like where it goes. That being said, the film left me with a ton of questions. For one, who exactly is Bella, the white-clad Angel of Death? How did she get this job, and why does she do it? How do people find out about this service? It couldn’t be openly advertised. Do people seek them out or does the motel find them? Another big question: who exactly is The Family? It’s evident they have a fairly menacing and sinister presence.

The Motel is something I could see getting expanded into a feature or web series as there are a lot of different things they could do with it and a whole world they could explore. I would definitely like to see that.

Final Thoughts

The Motel is a dark and unique short with an interesting central idea. I would love to see the world of the film be explored more as I feel there is a much deeper and larger story to tell. If you are interested in checking out The Motel, I’ve posted the short below with Ember’s permission.

About Charlie Cargile

Central Illinois based film journalist. Lover of cinema of all varieties but in love with films with an independent spirit. Elder Emo. Cat Dad. Metalhead.

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