Bad times at the El Royale… is it any good? Unfortunately, I’m afraid the clue is in the title.

OK, that may be a rather harsh opening statement. The film is actually quite good. It was simply frustrating to see so many wasted opportunities.

I’ll go into more detail soon.

Before that, the story focuses around a hotel and the guests staying in it.

The El Royale lies right in the middle of California and Nevada, with visitors getting to choose which state they’d prefer to stay in. In this case, we have a vacuum cleaner salesman played by Jon Hamm, a Priest (Jeff Bridges), a singer (Cynthia Erivo), and a hippy (Dakota Johnson).

There’s also the hotel bellboy (played by Lewis Pullman) and I’m sure you’ve noticed Chris Hemsworth all over the marketing – though I should warn you, he mostly features in the third act. If Hemsworth is the reason you’re watching this movie, you’ll likely be disappointed.

Now… as it turns out none of the hotel guests are who they first seem to be, and through multiple flashbacks, we slowly learn who they are and what brought them to this particular hotel.

The trailer intrigued me. It didn’t give too much away, and the mystery surrounding the place reminded me of a classic X-Files episode, pointing towards a big conspiracy, maybe even something paranormal – after all, this is from the writer/director of The Cabin in the Woods.

The start of the film was everything I hoped it would be. It was mysterious and I was excited to see how things would unravel. Sadly though, with every ‘big reveal’ I became increasingly underwhelmed.

I’ve seen a lot of people comparing this film to the works of Tarantino. I kind of agree with that. The cinematography was very Tarantino-esque, and the way the movie weaved between characters and their back stories reminded me of Pulp Fiction. If only the side stories were half as interesting as the ones in Pulp Fiction – this would’ve been a much better review.

In total I give it a 3 out of 5 – which is technically a recommendation. It’s certainly worth a watch. The negativity simply comes from the frustration of knowing this could’ve been a much better movie.


Mikey Clarke

Genre: Mystery & Suspense

Running Time: 2hrs 20mins

Written & Directed By: Drew Goddard

Cast: Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman, Chris Hemsworth, Nick Offerman

See Bad Times at the El Royale and much more at Showcase Cinema, Peterborough. Visit for the latest up-to-date show times. You can also join the chat on Twitter @showcasecinemas or on Facebook by searching for ‘Showcase Cinemas UK’.

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