Netflix Covers The Infamous Cecil Hotel


Caiden Lujin, Staff Writer

The creepy newest Netflix documentary about the horrors of the Cecil Hotel was released this month, with the controversial death of Elisa Lam at the helm. The 4-part series contains interviews ranging from the former owner of Hotel Cecil to the suspected (but innocent) killer of Canadian student Elisa Lam. Like many new Netflix releases, the Cecil Hotel story was propelled to even more fame on TikTok. 

The documentary opens by establishing Lam’s writing aspirations, as her life struggles are acted out as the story progresses. She opened up to her then-small audience about dealing with bipolar disorder and depression and elected to take a trip to Los Angeles to try and find herself. This trip, as you may presume, went unexpectedly. She was checking in at the Cecil Hotel on Skid Row, one of the most dangerous places in the country, as a female 21-year old – a mistake only a Canadian student with no other reference of America could make. 

 The scene has been pondered millions of times over on YouTube: Lam enters an elevator, pushes the entire middle row of buttons (including the door hold which kept the door open 2 additional minutes), then acts erratically, whipping her head left and right to look out of the elevator periodically. She backs into separate corners twice, and even appears to reach out for something that is not there. The four-minute clip was released to the public by the LAPD in an effort to gain help from the public in finding her. That footage was the last known of Lam before she went missing for 19 days. Amid the investigation, the clip, as mentioned, went viral, which sparked dozens of conspiracies and utter confusion. 

Horrifyingly, Elisa Lam was found decomposed inside of a water tank above the hotel complex by a hotel staffer. You know, the water that guests were bathing in and drinking? Expectedly, theories ran rampant shortly after news of this, and for good reason. Some suggested Lam was murdered by an amateur musician who stayed at the Cecil 11 months prior, due to his “Morbid” violence-obsessed alter-ego. Others even suggested the entire situation was a massive cover up by the LAPD, and Elisa Lam was actually sent by the government to spread tuberculosis across the LA area. Until the autopsy reports were to be made official, nothing was too far-fetched for internet sleuths investigating the incident. 

After months of angry conspiracy from internet sleuths, the autopsy reports determined that Lam’s death was accidental drowning, with bipolar disorder being the cause. Still, the death, for some, remains one of the biggest unsolved mysteries of all time.