Circa 1968, several strangers, most with a secret to bury, meet by chance at Lake Tahoe's El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one night, everyone will show their true colors - before everything goes to hell.
Stephanie is a single mother with a parenting vlog who befriends Emily, a secretive upper-class woman who has a child at the same elementary school. When Emily goes missing, Stephanie takes it upon herself to investigate.
In the late 1960s, an aging priest suffering from early onset dementia, a struggling African American female singer, a talkative salesman on vacation and an unfriendly young woman who may or may not be a hippie, arrive by chance on the same day at Lake Tahoe's "El Royale", a once glitzy but now rundown roadside motel lying on the very border between California and Nevada, and operated by a single troubled staff member who holds many dark secrets. Throughout the day, it becomes increasingly clear that almost no one there is exactly who they seem, but things really go from bad to worse in the evening when heavy rain hits and someone much worse than those inside arrives to find "a friend" and bring hell to all those unlucky enough to be there at the time.
Bad Times at the El Royale was a superbly directed film. Drew Goddard truly shows his talent as a director by consistently keeping the audience engaged. For me personally I felt this movie never had a moment where I felt the least bit bored. The pacing was very consistent. In addition to that the cinematography was excellent and it really captured every single scene almost perfectly.
Another thing I loved about this movie was the performances. Each character felt unique and engaging and that is thanks mostly to the writing but also to the acting. Chris Hemsworth's performance was one that truly astounded me. I don't want to reveal any spoilers but trust me, this role is unlike any other role he's been in. Other than Chris Hemsworth all the other actors were exceptional as well.
Now a reason why I love this movie is that it firstly is a great, I guess you could call, a love letter to Quentin Tarrantino's films. The dialogue is very intriguing as each character seems to have something sinister hidden deep within themselves, and that is mostly expressed through the dialogue.
I loved that none of the characters were cliché nice guys and I like how this movie makes you feel like any character could die at any point in the movie. It keeps your attention span and never fails at doing so. I also think it's a nice break from all those reboots, remakes, sequels and adaptations that are crowding cinema's nowadays. It's great to see a unique film like this one. It's sad that there aren't that many original ideas anymore.
Overall this movie most definitely feels like a Quentin Tarrantino fan film. And while it never reaches the level of quality as some of his better films. It does come very close to that mark in my opinion. And that is honestly a high remark especially for a less experienced film maker. All I can say is that this movie is layered with talent all throughout the movie and I'd highly recommend you go see it.
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