“The Vanishing at The Cecil Hotel” Review


Adrienne Sabatier, writer

On February 11th, Netflix released a documentary based on the events that took place at the Cecil Hotel. The Cecil Hotel is located in downtown LA , and is near all the fun tourist places to visit. Cecil was known for being really cheap and being near all the fun places in LA. This attracted many tourists to the hotel because people wanted to go to LA for a great price.

Unfortunately, The Cecil also attracted many dark and harmful people. Murders, suicides, overodeses, drug deals, and prostitution all took place at this hotel and no one really knew why.

In the documentary, we meet a British couple that had stayed at The Cecil and had a horrible experience. They explained that the hotel was very misleading. They said that once they first walked in it was so luxurious and nice, but once you get to the elevators it was sketchy and looked like it was very old. They also said that when they went out and could not find their way back to the hotel they would ask people where The Cecil was and would receive dirty looks. 

During the time they were staying there was an ongoing investigation going on. The case was about a college student named Elisa Lam. She had been staying at The Cecil and had gone missing during her stay there. She had been missing for nineteen days until her body was found in the water tank on the roof of The Cecil. 

Police had no leads about what happened to her. All they had was an elevator video that was provided to them by the hotel. In the video Elisa acts very oddly and almost possessed;it was also suspected that she was being followed by the way she was acting. Unfortunately, the video did not provide enough evidence to make anything out of it . Later on in the investigation it was found that the video was tampered with and edited to look different. In the documentary, they provide a variation of conspiracy theories about what could have possibly happened to Elisa. I liked that it leaves you wondering how she ended up in a water tank with no one knowing. 

Since Elisa was in the water tank for about nineteen days before her body was found,  which caused her body to decompose. Since her body had been sitting in the water tank the color and taste of the water was affected. This made customers very uncomfortable and traumatized since they were showering and brushing their teeth with this water. 

Lastly, they include other perspectives by interviewing people who have stayed there, residents, employees, and even the manager of the hotel. They include other creepy incidents that have happened at this hotel and leave you wondering how this was all allowed. I highly recommend watching this because it is so suspenseful and shocking. It is based on a true story and great to watch with friends and family.