Mysteries abound in this brand new thriller movie - The Echo News
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Mysteries abound in this brand new thriller movie

A review of “Bad Times at the El Royale”

(Graphic by Liam Brettenny)

(Graphic by Liam Brettenny)

By Landon Hilst | Echo

From director Drew Goddard comes this exhilarating new mystery revolving around a colorful cast and an impressive setting:The El Royale hotel.

On one side rests the beautiful sunshine state of Nevada, and to the other California, brimming with hopes and dreams. Although it may seem to be a bright and chipper novelty hotel, don’t be fooled.  It’s clear something about this place is off from the get go and before you know it, events start popping off quicker than you can say “door-to-door vacuum salesman.”

A trailer or two might give away more details than that, but for the most part don’t go looking for too much information. Audiences’ enjoyment will be elevated by not knowing a lick about this film’s plot after walking through those theater doors. But don’t worry, the film’s characters are in the same position you’re in, so all is well.

Speaking of characters, “Bad Times at the El Royale” is stacked with talent and variety. Among the hotel’s directory are Jeff Bridge’s sweet, elderly Father Daniel Flynn;  Jon Hamm’s confident traveling man Mr. Sullivan; and Dakota Johnson as hippie and bad girl Emily Summerspring.

The big names are all very good in their respective roles, but it’s really Cynthia Erivo who steals the hearts and minds of the audience as Ms. Darlene Sweet, a singer who is trying to break through the shadow of small-time background gigs and become a star of her own.

Writer and director of  “Bad Times at the El Royale,” Drew Goddard, has been a strong presence in the world of television and film. In addition to his newest film “Bad Times at the El Royale,” Goddard has churned out numerous hits in a variety of different roles. Among his works include writing popular found footage movie “Cloverfield,” having a hand in Netflix’s “Daredevil” as executive producer, and directing a few episodes on NBC’s “The Good Place” starring Kristen Bell.

Goddard stated “Bad Times” was created to be an experience for the theaters. The cinemas offer a connection with the film that cannot be replicated in one’s living room or on a laptop screen, according to Goddard.

The tension felt from this melting pot of personalities and agendas, as well as the atmosphere of the El Royale, work together nicely. The colors pop, the sounds come to life and the audience is pulled right into the conspiracies at the El Royale.

While there are plenty of surprises to be sure, the film does not suffer from the more quiet aspects that come from individual character moment and dialogue scenes. Slower parts carry as much weight and intrigue as any action set piece. Everything is interesting, which can be a rare achievement in a feature length film.

“Bad Times at the El Royale” premiered on Oct. 12, producing scares and thrills in time for the spooky season that viewers are not going to want to miss.

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