Bad Times at the El Royale- Karl Sides (the Flick Fanatics)



Jeff Bridges- Father Daniel Flynn/ Dock O’Kelly

Cynthia Erivo- Darlene Sweet

Jon Hamm- Laramie Seymore Sullivan/ Dwight Broadbeck

Dakota Johnson- Emily Summerspring

Chris Hemsworth- Billy Lee

Bridges, Hamm and Johnson “check in” to a new thriller from Director Dwight Goddard, “Bad Times at the El Royal”.

A priest, a vacuum salesman and a hippie check into a hotel…. sounds like the set up for a off color joke, but instead it is the set up for the new thriller from Director/Writer Dwight Goddard (Cabin in the Woods) called “Bad Times at the El Royale”.

The El Royale hotel is a unique establishment located outside Lake Tahoe straddling the state line between California and Nevada. Miles Miller (Lewis Pullman), the El Royale front desk clerk, explains to guests that they have the choice to stay in the rooms located in California and take advantage of the amenities there or stay in Nevada and enjoy the slot machines locate on the opposite side of the lobby.

The first guest to arrive are a priest Father Flynn (Bridges), an aspiring singer Darlene Sweet and the first one in line requesting the honeymoon suite Laramie Seymore Sullivan, a vacuum salesman.  As Miles assigns the rooms a fourth guest comes in, a hippie named Emily Summerspring. Everyone adjourns to their rooms and the secrets of the El Royal begin to reveal themselves.

Back in the day a bank robber hid his money in the floor of one of rooms at the El Royal, now Father Flannigan aka Dock O’Kelly the partner of that robber is there to find the money. The only issue is Dock has a bit of Alzheimer’s and can’t remember which room it is. Darlene takes her bedrolls which are acoustic and sound deadening material, so she can rehearse and not be bothered. Sullivan checks into the honeymoon suite and unloads his vacuum case which is holding a gun! Sullivan is really Agent Dwight Broadbeck, a CIA agent working for J Edgar Hoover, investigating the goings on at the El Royal.

Broadbeck snags the keys from the front desk while Miles naps after getting stoned, Agent Broadbeck finds a secret tunnel behind the font desk that has a view into each room through a 2-way mirror. The last room that Emily Summerspring checked into has a camera set up to record that room. Dwight watches as the hippie moves her things into the room and has a shotgun and a girl that is all tied up as a hostage!

All these secrets revealed and the “Bad Times” at the El Royal haven’t started yet! Billy Lee, a Charles Manson type is on his way to the hotel to retrieve his girl that was taken by Emily!

Bad Times at the El Royal is a very good thriller that Goddard does in a style that is similar to Quentin Tarantino with chapters and a dialogue driven film wrapping up with a bloody battle.

Flickanalysis: Bad Times at the El Royal is not that, it a good time. El Royal is on of the best thrillers of 2018 featuring good performances by Hamm, Johnson, Bridges and newcomer Cynthia Erivo making her big screen debut as a soul singer in the middle of all the chaos. Take a break this weekend and “Check In” to Bad Times at the El Royale (stay in Nevada it’s a good gamble), You’ll Love It!

Rating :4/5 Do Not Disturb signs

Rated R (Language, Violence, Smoking, Drugs and Brief Nudity)


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