Circa 1969, 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.
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In 1969, 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.Written by
First off let me say, Bat Times at the El Royale is most certainly not for everyone. The way the story unfolds and how information is withheld/presented is quite complex. Although this may make it a bit too convoluted for some, it makes it an absolute treat for anyone willing to dig beneath the surface and get analytical. Not unlike Cabin in the Woods (Drew Goddard's directorial debut), Bad Times plays with your expectations. Goddard takes painstaking care to build tension throughout a scene, only to have it all upended by a sudden twist. For that reason, I anticipate the reaction to this film will be divided, as many moviegoers simply don't like surprises or being unsure of what will happen. However, if you are a fan of Goddard's previous work, it's a safe bet that you'll like this one. I also need to talk about the cast, as they deliver an absolute treasure of an ensemble performance. Each person plays their part incredibly well, but Cynthia Erivo and Chris Hemsworth are the definite stand outs. Hemsworth especially shines, showing us that he can do more than play a quippy Norse god. This movie has so much to unpack both visually and in terms of foreshadowing that I cannot wait to see it again. If you're looking for a smart, stylish, and generally thrilling way to spend a few hours, look no further than Bad Times at the El Royale.
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