Review: Holistay


Movies about short-term rental horrors seem to be a cottage industry within the larger horror genre. This story is about a very nice “cottage” on a golf course in San Diego.

A young couple, Branna (Erin Gavin – “Audrey”) and Finn (Gavin O’Fearraigh – “The Gleaner”), pull their vintage Corvette up to a fancy house in San Diego. Under a statuette in the front garden is a key. They enter, look over the place, and begin bringing in liquor, luggage etc.

A short time later another couple, older, and in an SUV, also pull up to the house. Tony (Steven Martini – “Louis”) and Gia (Gabriella Kulaif – “Bittersweet”) look for the key, but it’s gone. Trying the door, they find it unlocked and, upon entering, discover signs that someone is already there.

So begins this tale based on double booking: both couples have booked the same house for the same dates. Once they meet and realize the error, and being unable to contact the owners of the house, they settle into an arrangement to split the place.

But all is not well. The younger couple, Irish folks on vacation, are more outgoing and friendly, while the older ones are more reticent, especially Gia. They have secrets they don’t want exposed. Meanwhile, the couple get along, sharing meal, drinks and outings.

But then, things start getting very strange. Both Finn and Tony see a hooded figure lurking around the property, and Tony hears weird noises in the night.

Honestly, I was hoping for more out of this film. The acting is pedestrian, the story is slow-moving and tepid, and the shocks just not shocking. Worst is the sound. After a promising opening number as the credits roll, the music descends into the abrasive noises that are supposed to rouse tension but only irritate. Worst of all, the dialogue was recorded in such a way that background noises – normal noises that we expect to hear, but recognize subliminally – are dominant in many scenes. This is simply not acceptable.

Don’t waste your money or your time. Especially your time, since you never know when, like a vacation, it will run out.


Director/writer: Mary Patel-Gallagher
Producer: Mary Patel-Gallagher
Cinematographer: John Nichole Theodosio
Editor: Krista Leigh Pilling
Music: John Michael Hersey

Branna: Erin Gavin
Finn: Gavin O’Fearraigh
Tony: Steven Martini
Gia: Gabriella Kulaif
Gardener: Bailee Bob Sveen
Gardener: John Michael Hersey

Runtime: An excruciating One hour, 29 minutes
Availability: Digital Streaming July 25, 2023

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