This one isn't exactly what you'd call a "Halloween" title, but there's an air of mystery and thrill, and I thought it might be in the same vein, at least. Anyway, regardless, here we are with 'Bad Times at the El Royale' - a film that floated under many radars, despite its wide theatrical release. It even debuted at #7 for its opening weekend, according to the Box Office Top 10. However, despite mostly positive reviews, it simply didn't take off because too many people were busy, at the time, arguing about whether or not 'Venom' was any good.
This one kinda revisits the bottle mystery sub-genre; movies along the same lines as something like 'Clue', or to match this particular title a bit closer, 'Hateful Eight', as I actually found it to be rather Tarantino-esque in overall style. This one comes from Director Drew Goddard, who's most notable directorial film is 'The Cabin in the Woods' - a movie you either love, hate, or love to hate (I love). This is a step away from that style and, as I say, a bit more Tarantino-esque (maybe that was just me, but I stand by it).
The overall plot sees a group of characters come together by chance at the run down El Royale - a hotel with the border of Colorado and Nevada running through it, and a dark history. Each character - a priest (Jeff Bridges), a singer (Cynthia Erivo), a vacuum salesman (Jon Hamm), a hippie (Dakota Johnson) and the hotel's only worker (Lewis Pullman) all have checkered pasts of their own. Before the night is through, true colours are exposed after the arrival of Rose Summerspring (Cailee Spaeny) and her manipulative love-interest, Billy Lee (Chris Hemsworth's Abs).
All in all, this is one of those times where I don't fully know what to make of a film. I'd have to say it was enjoyable, but by the end of it all, I kinda just wanted to rewatch it with familiar eyes. It's one of those movies that goes back and forth according to different character perspectives, and it's easy for a dude like me to lose track of exactly what's going on sometimes when a movie does this.
With that said, however, we had great performances, atmosphere, and intensity, so the film did a good enough job with its overall execution. So, the jumping around aspect of it really was my only major problem. I tend to find this can be fixed with multiple viewings, so odds are, I'll wanna check it out again at some point down the line. But really, it's still one of 2018's lesser titles, despite all it has working for it. I think if it's given some time once its released on DVD and Blu-ray, it has the potential to be a cult hit, but until then, it kinda stands as an enigma to me.
Somehow it manages to be good but forgettable all at once. Maybe it's because we've seen this kind of thing before. Maybe it was other titles at the time drowning it out. Maybe it's all the jumping around between time and characters. All I know is that I can't recommend or not recommend this movie to anyone for any reason. It's just kinda there. We'll see what happens, but I suspect this one will suffer for a while until the right audience discovers it and wonders if it was ever released in theaters.