Bad Times at the El Royale, with its multiple perspectives on the same events, is a Tarantinoesque head-trip, and one hell of a ride.
Writer/director Drew Goddard hit it big in 2012 with satirical horror film Cabin in the Woods, and has since written the screenplay for Oscar-bait film The Martian and the Daredevil Netflix show.
Now he’s back with El Royale, a frantic, interesting mystery thriller, half-part Clue and the other half horror cult classic Identity.
The interwoven stories of seven strangers with secrets staying on the same night at the famed El Royale hotel is an absolute blast.
Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Jon Hamm, Cailee Spaeny and Lewis Pullman are all unbelievable here as a group of people seeking redemption.
However, there are two absolutely diamonds out of the rough crowd.
Dakota Johnson plays a hard-done-by woman on the run, and her foul-mouthed, edgy performance literally erased every bad memory I have of her from her Fifty Shades days. She is at her career-best here, and has redefined herself as an actress worth talking about.
Second, more than beautiful eyes and a heavy hammer, Thor himself reunites with Goddard in a showy supporting role.
Chris Hemsworth’s presence in Cabin in the Woods, post-Thor, allowed for that film’s success. Here, Goddard gives the actor a chance to prove he has chops. Hemsworth is terrifying and alluring as a cult leader storming the El Royale to get back something stolen from him.
The cast is impeccable and the story incredible. El Royale is destined for cult classic greatness, and it’s one that will be fondly remembered long after this year’s blockbusters have come and gone.