Lake Tahoe, 1969. Seven strangers, each one with a secret to bury, meet at El Royale, a decadent motel with a dark past. In the course of a fateful night, everyone will have one last shot at redemption.
_Bad Times At The El Royale_ was exceptional. Through its preview period, I was hooked from the teaser trailer to the 24th TV Spot released. Drew Goddard knew how to make a wonderous and exciting thriller through its magnificent casting and so much more. All these trailers set high expectations which made me worry a little bit as I don’t like getting myself too excited for movies because sometimes, I get very disappointed. But with this, it exceeded my high expectations. _Bad Times At The El Royale_ just crushed it and it felt riveting the whole time which is something that is hard to find in films nowadays.
The casting was incredibly on point for this with Dakota Johnson, Jeff Bridges, Jon Hamm, Lewis Pullman, Chris Hemsworth, Cailee Spaeny and Cynthia Erivo delivering Oscar-worthy performances. Both Lewis Pullman and Cailee Spaeny deserve a lot of recognition. They just both developed so well throughout and it just astounded me at the level that they could deliver. The best thing about all these wonderful and exciting characters were the connections they all had with each other whether it be a love/hate relationship. To avoid spoilers, I will not highlight who my favourite connection was but _Bad Times At The El Royale_ knew how to deliver excellent performances and wonderful connections.
The story was captivating in itself but what really accompanied this well-made film was its soundtrack which really packed quite a punch. Songs like This Old Heart Of Mine by The Isley Brothers, which was featured in the trailer and sung incredibly well by Cynthia Erivo, and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You by Frankie Valli just fit in the most perfect ways. Movies like _Baby Driver_ and _Shaun Of The Dead_, both coincidentally directed by Edgar Wright, wouldn’t have been what it was without its soundtrack, and it’s unfortunate to say that _Bad Times At The El Royale_ would have suffered a bit without the ‘60s music.
Fortunately, nothing disappointed me at all with this movie because the height of intensity was just there without doing to much to establish it. Jon Hamm was most of the reason, along with Chris Hemsworth, that really helped make this such a great film. Drew Goddard produced beautiful camerawork and outstanding set design. It is truly one of the most brilliant films ever created and I’ve only ever been astounded this much by _Searching_ as I kept feeling like I didn’t know what was going to happen. And honestly, I didn’t. But the big thing that would keep certain audiences away is the level of gore that I’ve only ever seen in Tarantino films and _Brawl In Cell Block 99_. _Bad Times At The El Royale_ is a lot like Tarantino’s _The Hateful Eight_ but it was done 10x better. Everything just seemed to click with me throughout the long runtime and I’m glad I didn’t give this a miss.
_Bad Times At The El Royale_ is wonderful with unpredictable plot twists, exceptional casting and chemistry, a smartly written script and high intensity levels. I expect to see a lot of Oscar nominations for this movie as it deserves a lot of recognition whether it be surprising performances from the likes of Dakota Johnson and Lewis Pullman or fantastic costumes and design. _Bad Times At The El Royale_ just clicked with me 100% and could not lose my attention from the second I saw Nick Offerman walk into his hotel room. I paid attention to every second and enjoyed it so _Bad Times At The El Royale_ deserves a thrilling 10/10.
More often than not, the fragmented, time-jump-y form of storytelling (a la Tarantino) doesn't do it for me. But _Bad Times at the El Royale_ nails the format, and just about everything else while it's at it.
_Final rating:★★★★ - Very strong appeal. A personal favourite._