Bad Times at the El Royale Review

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How do you describe 'Bad Times at the El Royale'? It’s anyone’s guess, the trailer gives next to no clues about the real film plot, but one thing is certain it is fantastically creepy. 

Director Drew Goddard’s second feature film follows seven strangers as they meet at the El Royale hotel in Lake Tahoe. Their lives change forever after their one night stay in the hotel. 

The plot itself is non-linear and at times confusing, with a lot of questions left unanswered. It is, however, a masterpiece of cinema. The opening shot is beautifully symmetrical and those first 10 minutes set the tone for next 130, wonderfully dark and twisted, minutes.  

El Royale’s cinematography is outstanding with perfectly framed shots and excellent use of light and colour. Based on the aesthetic alone the film is great but combined with the stellar cast it is a thing of beauty. 

Cynthia Erivo stands out as singer Darlene Sweet. Jeff Bridges; Dakota Johnson; Jon Hamm, Chris Hemsworth; Cailee Spaeny and Lewis Pullman complete the group whose lives are forever altered by that one fateful night. 

Lewis Pullman’s Miles is perhaps the most intriguing character in the film, with his story remaining a mystery up until the last few minutes. Meanwhile, Hemsworth’s Billy Lee is unsettling and, at times, terrifying.  

Bad Times at the El Royale is an unsettling combination of pure magic, intrigue, and gripping suspense. A truly fantastic piece of cinema that leaves the viewer wishing for so much more. 

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