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Bad Times At The El Royale               review by Bobby Blakey

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I love director Drew Goddard’s 2012 horror flick Cabin in the Woods because it offer up some insane fun to a familiar genre. Now he is bringing his unique vision to a different kind of flick with his latest Bad Times At The El Royale starring Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman, and Chris Hemsworth, but does it offer up as much intriguing fun as the trailers promise or will it not be worth spying on?

Bad Times At The El Royale follows seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, who meet at Lake Tahoe's El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone will have a last shot at redemption... before everything goes to hell. The trailers for this movie seemed to give a lot away, but as I expected they really only set the tone to the mysteries that are intertwined throughout. From the moment this film starts you can tell it is going to be something that stands out on its own. The direction of telling the story with chapters and flashbacks made for a much more compelling narrative than it might have been had they attempted to tell the story straight through. There are so many layers to the characters and their journey to the Royale there isn’t really any other way it could have worked.

Just understand going in that this is a character driven story with long sequences of just dialogue and very little action. Some might find this a bit slow, but thanks to a great cast and script it works so well. You really want to know these characters story and as they cross into the story to one another you are further taken down a rabbit hole of intrigue. Everyone on the cast is great with Bridges really standing out for me. HE is always great, but there was just something here that I loved and wanted more from his character. Hemsworth was the other standout for me with his sometimes over the top while still grounded god like persona. While they stood out the rest of the cast all had their moment to shine and brought it together to perfection.

As previously mentioned this film plays up more of a noir type story, but when there is action it is memorable. As the story progresses there are varying moments of violence with each of them getting a bit more aggressive in the best way possible. It isn’t an overly bloody affair which is expected since it is not a horror film, but it is far from gentle. I had so many ways I wanted this film to end and there were so many directions they could have taken it, but the simplicity of its direction further showed its overall brilliance. I loved this movie and hope it is one that people give a chance to as we just don’t get enough films like this.

In addition to the film this release includes bonus content including a gallery and making of featurette. Pack your bags and check into the hotel when Bad Times At The El Royale available now on Digital, 4K Ultra, Blu-ray and DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

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