Circa 1969, several strangers, most with a secret to bury, meet by chance at Lake Tahoe's El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one night, everyone will show their true colors - before everything goes to hell.
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Six strangers, (Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Cailee Spaeny and Lewis Pullman) each with their own secrets, meet at the El Royale hotel of Lake Tahoe. Taking place over one night, alliances are made and secrets are revealed.
In the movie its called El Royale Hotel. In actuality it's both a "motel" and a hotel. Hotel rooms are accessible through an internal hallway. Motel rooms are accessible from the outside. See more »
Towards the end of the film, several different fires erupt in the lobby of the El Royale due to a scuffle between Father Daniel Flynn and his captor Billy Lee. Yet, Father Daniel and Darlene Sweet spend an inordinate amount of time inside the burning lobby rather than fleeing. The multiple fires in this lobby scene are extremely slow-burning and amazingly well-contained. Father Daniel and Darlene most likely would have had difficulty breathing due to smoke inhalation after being exposed to the indoor inferno for fewer than 5 minutes, yet they choose to remain in the lobby for 10 to 15 minutes. See more »
An overlong, pretentious homage to Agatha Christie (Ten Little Indians) Steven King (The Shining) and the TV film Helter Skelter, "Bad Times at the El Royal" is a generally tedious, disappointing, and ultimately gory portrayal of "unlikable people acting badly," my personal worst form of cinema.
Individual performances by Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, and Jon Hammx are brilliant, and some production values are excellent, but many of the quick cuts between past, present, future, and contemporaneous events are ill-conceived and anachronisms abound. Why are 1960s songs on a Juke box played on 78rpm records? Why is an impoverished singer driving a mint-condition classic 1951 Studebaker in the 1970s?
Evidently filmed in British Columbia, "Bad Times" so far detached from objective reality as to be allegorical, if not incredible - requiring far too much suspension of disbelief and tolerance of gore to be enjoyable.
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