Bad Times at the El Royale Movie Review

Dylan Delay, Reporter

Bad Times at the El Royale was released into movie theaters on October 12, 2018. The film is full of dark twists and turns that can leave the viewer speechless. This is a gritty thriller/mystery film that will leave you shocked at what happens next. The style of this is much different than other movies and stands out in its uniqueness. The runtime for this is around 2 hours and 20 minutes, a long time, but for a movie like this, just enough.

The Bad Times at the El Royale has a production style that has been unseen in a while. It starts by introducing 5 of the 7 main characters into the motel. It follows each character into their room number and gives a brief explanation of what each character’s secret is. The way the plot unfolds is through everyone’s viewpoint of how the events present themselves. Showing everyone’s view is how this movie ends up at 2 hours and 20 minutes. It sounds drawn out, but the directors filmed in a way that is entertaining throughout the film.

Each character is part of an intervening storyline in the film. The first character introduced is Darlene Sweet, a local singer passing through to perform at a local club. Next is Father Daniel Flynn, the local priest. The real twist is that he isn’t actually a priest, but a criminal. After, is Seymour, a local vacuum cleaner salesman staying for the night. In reality, he is a secret detective investigating the El Royale for possible crimes and conspiracy. Miles Miller is the only worker as the cleaner, salesman, bartender, and struggling heroin addict. Next up is Summers (the first name not stated) who has kidnapped her brainwashed sister to take her away from a dangerous cult they were a part of. Also, even though Rose was told explicitly to not contact the cult leader, she did anyway. The cult leader is Billy Lee, an obsessed and deranged cult leader, who wants nothing more than to get back Rose and then kill her older sister.

Now for the actual plotline (spoilers ahead). The film starts with a man burying money under a hotel room. He then opens the door and gets shot in the back by a mysterious man. 10 years later, the main plotline begins. Darlene, Father Daniel Flynn, Seymour, Miles, and summers are introduced and given their hotel rooms. Seymour investigates his room and realizes the hotel is spying on him and the other residents. He discovers a two-way mirror is in every room and finds the priest uncovering the floorboards to search for the bag of money. He finds Summers who has kidnapped her sister in the room. He reports to his agency and is immediately told to not engage. He decides to confront Summers and, in an attempt to help Rose, ends up at gunpoint. He tries to reason with Summers but before he can talk, she shoots him dead in the chest. Part of the blast goes through the two-way mirror and hits Miles in the face but doesn’t kill him. Meanwhile, Darlene becomes suspicious of Father Flynn and attacks him with a champagne bottle. In an attempt to escape, she sees Summers kill Seymour and proceeds to steal his gun. The Priest confronts Darlene and tells her about his criminal past, the money is in her room, and he is willing to split it 50/50. She complies, and they recover the bag. While this is all happening, Billy Lee is called over by Rose and everyone is captured and brought to the lobby being held hostage. Billy Lee forces Darlene, Flynn, Miles, and Summers to play sick and twisted games for their lives. Summers is shot and killed. After, Miles, Darlene, and Flynn fight back against the cult. In the danger, Miles is told to kill them, but he is extremely reluctant too. Darlene asks why Miles won’t kill them and Miles reveals that he has killed 123 people in the Vietnam War as a marksman sniper. He gains his courage back and kills the cult members except for Rose. In a moment of vulnerability, Rose stabs Miles in the stomach and is shot to death by Flynn. Miles dies of his wounds and Darlene and Flynn escape with the bag of money. The movie ends 6 months later with Darlene professionally singing in a casino and Flynn visiting her as she is performing.

This is a very good movie. The filming, acting, and plot are all amazing. Rarely are movies ever filmed like this anymore or in this specific style. Personally, I rate this film an 8/10 because there were a few points in the movie that felt unnecessary or dragged out. If you are a fan of mystery movies or thrillers, this is a strong recommendation.