Bad Times at the El Royale

Taking place in the late 1960s, an aging priest suffering from early signs of dementia (Jeff Bridges), a struggling female singer (Cynthia Erivo), a salesman (Jon Hamm), and a unfriendly/sarcastic young women (Dakota Johnson), all arrive by chance on the same day at Lake Tahoe’s “El Royale,” a rundown motel operated by a troubled staff member (Lewis Pullman). Throughout the day, it becomes clear that no one is who they seem, but things go from bad to worse when a heavy rain comes in that evening and a sinister character arrives (Chris Hemsworth, who’s tremendous as a sadistic cult leader!). Drew Goddard (Cabin in the Woods) turns in a great script here and offers some great direction behind the camera as well. The sets, production design, and soundtrack are all top-notch. While some will say this film is a blatant Quentin Tarantino rip-off, I say that’s a critical cop-out. Bad Times at the El Royale is more of an homage piece to Brian DePalma and Tarantino, but it still carries its own original voice/tone at the same time. One of the best movies of 2018 so far.