The Resort (2021) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

The Resort (2021) Review

Horrorific content by Christina Dee on May 28th, 2021 | Movie Review | Supernatural, Dangerous Exploration, Haunted House - Hotel

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Four friends head to Hawaii to investigate reports of a haunting at an abandoned resort.

The Resort was directed by Taylor Chien and stars Michael Vlamis, Brock O'Hurn, Bianca Haase and Michelle Randolph.

Be careful what you wish for

The Resort Review

Haunted hotels aren’t just standard fare when it comes to horror movies. Thanks to masterpieces like The Shining, they’re genre staples. In other words, they’ve been done to death, so new additions to the trope really need to bring something new to the table. Taylor Chien is the director of The Resort, a film that aims to be different by locating its haunted hotel in Hawaii. But does it actually give viewers anything fresh and different, or are you better off sitting down to watch The Shining for the twentieth time?

The Resort opens with a security team checking things out at a creepy location, which you can correctly presume to be the titular resort. Things quickly go south when one of the guards is dragged down a hallway, almost certainly by something supernatural or ghostly. Cut to four young friends having fun at a birthday party and planning a trip to a nearby island together. They are Lex (Bianca Haase), Chris (Brock O’Hurn), Sam (Michael Vlamis), and Bree (Michelle Randolph).

Not only does Lex turn out to be the person having a birthday, but she’s also an avid Stephen King fan and aspiring author. And being a big King fan, she also knows that her favorite author recommends writing what you know. That’s how she decides an excursion to the allegedly haunted resort on that nearby island is such a good idea. Legend has it that a restless spirit known as the Half-Faced Girl resides there, and Lex and friends are determined to get to the bottom of the rumors and meet her for themselves.

From there, The Resort progresses pretty much the way that you’d expect. The friends go on their adventure together, and creepy things eventually start happening. Occasionally the film flashes forward to an injured Lex being questioned by a detective (Dave Sheridan) while convalescing in a hospital bed, so you know she’ll survive whatever happens at the resort. The rest is left up to the viewer to discover as they watch.

The Resort isn’t working with much of a budget, a common state of affairs in indie horror. It really shows with this film, though, and in ways that are pretty frustrating for the viewer. An annoying portion of the movie simply shows Lex and friends bumming around the island doing everyday things that have nothing to do with would-be horror novel research. They have long, rambling conversations about the supernatural. They go swimming, showing off plenty of skin in the process, and they kill time. In fact, that’s honestly all that happens for the first 45 minutes of the 74-minute film.

Thankfully, things pick up significantly once the friends reach the resort. It’s an appropriately spooky location, and some of the scares that ensue are really pretty solid. The makeup and effects are incredible, especially considering the shoestring budget the talent was working with. For that reason, it’s really too bad better use wasn’t made of the scenes leading up to the big scares. The right choices could have set the thrills and chills up a lot more effectively and without partially losing the viewer in the process.

Worth Watching?

In other words, The Resort isn’t going to win any awards or give The Shining a run for its money. The slowness of the bulk of the film, coupled with an ending anyone who’s ever seen a horror film before could have seen coming a mile away, is problematic. However, it may be worth checking the film out anyway for the horror effects, as well as the beautiful shots of the Hawaiian shooting locations. Just make sure you go into things in a forgiving state of mind.

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