TV Review: Crime Scene – The Vanishing at The Cecil Hotel

What a whirlwind of a crime documentary. Many people have been excited to watch the number one mini-documentary series currently on Netflix and I was certainly one of them.

This hit Netflix documentary – created by Joe Berlinger – consists of four episodes and is all about the infamous Cecil Hotel located in Los Angeles, California which is based around the mysterious disappearance of the hotel’s guest Elisa Lam.

For the most part, this series was extremely fascinating to watch, with a wide range of interviews from the Hotel’s manager, police on the case, to even former hotel residents of the Cecil. The wide range of intense mystery made me want to watch more and it truly highlights how Netflix is successful in producing great crime documentaries.

The Elisa Lam case has been known for years on social media (American Horror Story fans – this is the reason behind season 5: Hotel). Due to the awareness about the case from social media, I believe this series failed to hit the mark in many areas.

Firstly, I believe the sole reason as to why this series didn’t do as well as I originally anticipated was because of the lack of mention about the urban legend- the elevator game and its potential involvement in Elisa Lam’s death.

I understand this series is very conspiracy theory based, but one of the main reasons why this case was so talked about for years was due to the Elevator Game. If you love ghost stories and are fascinated about this whole case, then I insist that you look into it, as it may question your whole judgement about the case.

There were some parts of the episodes which dragged on, with areas consistently repeating itself about problems in LA. This did provide great amount of detailed background information about what was happening in LA at the time, yet I felt many of these parts were not necessary and came off slightly irrelevant.

Nevertheless, I agree that it finally led to some closure it clearly presented the human background side on the case. This is significant in the last two episodes, as it’s extremely sad that Pablo Vergara, at the time was accused by YouTubers for potentially being involved in the case which tormented his life for many years, even though he was completely innocent.

My heart also goes out to the people who had to drink water from the Cecil – watch the series and you’ll understand. Gross…

My opinion is conflicted about this series, but if you’re looking for an interesting, crime and mysterious documentary series to watch with conspiracies and a potential answer to cracking a case, then this will be right up your street.

However, if you are someone like myself who has background knowledge of the case prior to the series, then you may end up slightly disappointed or you may end up loving it even more.

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel is available on Netflix now.

Rating: 6/10

By Jack Proverbs

Feature image: Syfy Wire

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