Bad Times at the El Royale – A Review Haiku


Seven strangers meet at the El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of the night, things go from fun to strange to creepy to scary to deadly.


Stellar Direction;
Fun and Engaging Story;
Time For a Re-Watch.




There are films that will awe you with their technical qualities, there are films that drop your jaw with the level of acting present, there are films that engage viewers with an interesting story…and there are films that deliver it all. Bad Times at the El Royale has it all. Thank you, Drew Goddard. Applause around.

Drew Goddard crafts a screenplay that, at face value may seem uninspired, but actually has an incredible amount to say, and with a powerful voice at that. Goddard manages to not be overly preachy while pushing his message through his characters. This is a wonderful trait that most movies do not share. While it may be set up as such, this is not a typical “whodunnit” murder mystery. This is something completely its own. We are reminded of Quentin Tarantino with the title cards, introducing us to different segments of the story and the non-linear storytelling. This worked beautifully, as we are given information of backstories at specific moments throughout the film. Goddard takes a screenplay that could very easily have fallen victim to being too recycled and gives us a story that is fun, engaging and interesting, while also containing a message.

The acting is not necessarily the strong suit, here, but it is not anything to criticize, either. Jeff Bridges gives a fine performance as a thief playing a priest, Cailee Spaeny is a very believable in her role and gives near perfect delivery of her lines, and Jon Hamm does a bang up job being charismatic and flipping a switch. The real acting showcase is when Chris Hemsworth’s character shows up at the hotel. This is Hemsworth’s finest performance to date, and probably one that will be snubbed by the Academy. It is a supporting role worthy of any and all acclaim and awards.

Bad Times at the El Royale may not be the best in every category, but it is great at everything it does. It manages to tell a message, keep the audience entertained, be funny, be serious… it is a cornucopia of greatness. It has shot to the top of the list of my favorite movies of the year, so far… and could very well be one of my favorite films from the past several years. I cannot recommend this movie enough. Go see it. Now.

Have you seen Bad Times at the El Royale? Was it the movie you expected it to be?
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