Bad Times at the El Royale

I highly enjoyed Cabin in the Woods, Drew Goddard's directorial debut, so I was excited to check out Bad Times At The El Royale, pairing him up with Chris Helmsworth once again. It... was not meant to be.
So, yeah. I loved Cabin In The Woods. It was a great take on all the horror films I enjoyed watching before, rolling them all into one with an ancient deity to boot. Pairing Drew and Chris again along with Jeff Bridges seemed to be a recipe for a great film. I may have went in with expectations much higher than I should have.

The runtime at 2hrs 21mins wouldn’t have been so bad except that it mostly dragged on and on. A lot of it seemed dedicated to launching Erivo’s singing career. Not that she doesn’t have a beautiful singing voice, but jeez, the endless singing scenes could have been cut dramatically and it wouldn’t have taken from the film… it’d have improved it.

So many characters were introduced and then killed off without much care. You barely got invested in their stories before they were gone. There were too many characters, so you didn’t actually have time to care about any of them, since, again, even with such a long run time, most was dedicated to an extremely slow build up and Erivo’s singing constantly. Perhaps if we were given time to emphasize with them, to become emotionally invested, it would have been different, but honestly I didn’t much care about their backstories or what happened to them.

It seemed like some parts were needlessly stretched out forever that amounted to nothing but red herrings that didn’t add anything to the plot, whereas the actual character development was squeezed into as little time as possible. It makes absolutely no sense to write a movie this way… we’re supposed to care about the characters and what happens to them, the threads that led them to this motel and this point in their lives where they all intersect.

When it started getting interesting and you thought some of those threads would get untangled, Billy shows up, and it stops being about storytelling and turns to gratuitous violence for gore’s sake. In the end, Bad Times At El Royale fails to live up to the Tarantino movies it has blatantly ripped off, and is nowhere near as clever as it aspires to be.

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