Bad Times at the El Royale was an interesting movie, but it failed to live up to my expectations. The trailer was so intriguing and tantalizing. It promised a unique viewing experience chock full of twists and turns. While the film certainly had its moments, it was shockingly predictable and suffered from a severely rushed third act. Drew Goddard had something special here, but it disappears amidst one-note characters and a Hollywood ending that feels out of place.
The set-up is simple enough. Four strangers meet at the rundown El Royale hotel in 1968. We get to see things from their perspective for a while before s**t gets real and the secrets start to take over. I enjoyed Jeff Bridges's performance as Father Flynn, but I was surprised at how little Jon Hamm was in the film. The trailer made him out to be a prominent character, but that was not the case. Lewis Pullman delivered a strong performance as Miles the bellhop, and Chris Hemsworth stood out as the viciously unhinged Billy Lee. Most of my issues with the film are with the third act, in which the previous stories take a backseat to the new cult story headed by Billy Lee. This is when the suspense gets thrown out in favor of a predictable ending. I won't spoil it, but it's kind of laughable after what we've already seen.
I was really looking forward to this film, and I must say I'm disappointed with what I saw. I wanted so much more, and I could see the wasted potential just floating away. Bad Times at the El Royale is an engaging film, though. It's just not nearly as memorable as the trailers promised. It's worth watching for the performances.