Earlier this month, Netflix announced its latest foray into true crime documentaries: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel. The four-part series delves into the disappearance of Vancouverite Elisa Lam, who visited the notorious Los Angeles hotel in 2013 and mysteriously vanished, only to be found dead in a water tank on the roof two weeks later. No one truly knows what happened to her and how she ended up there, but the new series hopes to get us one step closer to finding out, and the first trailer is getting audiences excited for its release.
The CCTV footage of Lam’s last moments is frightening. Surveillance footage taken from the hotel corridors and elevators showed Lam displaying increasingly erratic behavior, gesturing wildly at nothing at all and even hiding in the corner of the elevator, which keeps its doors ajar and doesn’t go anywhere. Needless to say, the footage has sparked numerous conspiracy theories about what could have happened.
Making this series was a no-brainer. Director Joe Berlinger, who was also behind Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, said he was always fascinated with the case and said making the series was a no-brainer. “As a true crime documentarian, I was fascinated in 2013 when the elevator video of Elisa Lam went viral and legions of amateur detectives used the internet to try to solve the mystery of what happened to her, a 21-year-old Canadian tourist on her first trip to Los Angeles,” he told Variety of The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel.
The trailer shows just what audiences are in for. The first trailer for the series reveals that not only will Tam’s specific case be looked into, but it will be explored within a greater framework of the Cecil Hotel’s history as a deadly place for guests throughout its opening. Given how many deaths have occurred there, it seems a little more than coincidental that Lam met her end there as well.
Netflix will release The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel on February 10. All four episodes will be available to stream at once, so get ready to binge watch this incredibly interesting albeit tragic story.
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