The Resort (2021) – Movie review

Last Updated on August 26, 2021

PLOT: A group of suspiciously attractive twentysomethings heads off to an abandoned resort in Hawaii with the hopes of sighting the local ghost that haunts it.

LOWDOWN: Set around the beautiful Hawaiian landscape, The Resort (WATCH IT HERE) follows four friends as they go ghost hunting in an abandoned vacation resort. What leads them there is a sense of adventure, tied into a birthday celebration for our protagonist and horror writer, Lex (Bianca Haase). The Resort ain’t subtle, so the character archetypes tend to be pretty blunt and by the book. Sam (Michael Vlamis) is the aggressive party animal that doesn’t know when he goes too far, while his friend Chris (Brock O’Hurn) is the bulky model-looking dude who’s more reserved and sensitive. Rounding out or group is the hot and bubbly blonde, Bree (Michelle Randolph).

Props to Chien for securing an actual resort location because It does wonders for the movie. How many times do we get a story set in a dank and dark setting, with mainly a few quick establishing shots to clue us in on the “where?” Too many, and The Resort doesn’t hide it through tight shots or awkward coverage. Filmed on location in Hawaii, I’m a sucker for islands and tropical weather and will always dig any horror film with that setting. When it comes to the horror angle, things take their time, with most of the story taking place with the twentysomethings wandering around before anything happens. Now, we do get a cheeky scene where everyone skinny dips under a waterfall, full of gratuitous slow motion and tight bodies (for the men and the ladies). It’s uncalled for and completely ridiculous, but it had me chuckling alone in my apartment. You can’t say that Chien doesn’t understand his audience and at least tries to have a bit of fun when he can.

When the scares do come, which is in the last fifteen minutes, I had a bit of drunken fun. We get a ghost who plays the same games we’ve seen a thousand times, like walking in the background out of focus or pulling someone off frame. But looking past the clichés, the entity named the “half-faced girl” ends up kinda cool when things get zany near the end. The stalking ghost trope hasn’t been engaging in quite a while, but when this goes full, Evil Dead, The Resort caught my attention and had me grinning like a drunken fool. Things get so weird, stylized, and bizarre in the last chunk of the movie that I wonder why Chien didn’t just embrace this side of him and skimp over the dull and straightforward approach through the first two-thirds.

Listen, I like dumb fun, and The Resort has its moments, yet I think this is mainly going to gel with you if you happen to be somewhat “under the influence,” and that’s just my simple takeaway. Acting-wise it’s never unbearable, yet the exposition dumps do not help the cause and shake the foundation of tolerable at times. Bianca Haase does fine as the pragmatic lead, while her wrestler-looking boyfriend Chris may have been the best of the bunch. Brock O’Hurn has a natural screen presence and ended up being the most likable, but that could be by default as everyone else can get pretty annoying. Everything else outside the wacky ending and gorgeous setting is very standard and generic. With a scant seventy-five-minute runtime, there isn’t much room for error, and I’m sad to say that all of the run time is just build-up to the drenched horror finale.

GORE:  We get one practical over-the-top gore scene, but this flick holds back quite a bit.

BOTTOM LINE: The Resort fails more than it works, yet I find myself having a bit of fun here and there. This is your classic ABC story where nothing unique happens and plays it by the book from start to finish. But with a few friends and a few “party favors,” The Resort can find life as dumb fun that never aims above what it knows it is.

The Resort Hits Select Theaters & On Demand April 30, 2021.




Source: Arrow in the Head

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