At All Costs, Don’t Check into The Resort (2021)
Title: The Resort
First Non-Festival Release: June 7, 2021 (DVD)
Director: Taylor Chien
Writer: Taylor Chien
Runtime: 75 Minutes
Starring: Bianca Haase, Brock O’Hurn, Michael Vlamis
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
After surprising Lex (Bianca Haase) with a Hawaiian vacation for her birthday, her friends go on to explain the true surprise of the trip: an expedition out to the haunted resort that is her obsession. The inspiration from being there firsthand will give her the material she needs to finish editing her horror novel set on that very island about the local legend of the Half-Faced Girl. Once there, they realize that some legends are very real, after they get stuck in the resort at night. Once darkness falls, they find themselves face to half-face with the terror that haunts the infamous hotel and has no qualms about making their stay permanent.
The Resort is a tepid island vacation horror that offers nothing but retreads of unhallowed grounds.
There is nothing special about The Resort which makes it hard to describe. We learn very little about the horror and why it is happening. There’s so much potential for pretty much anything interesting or original and the film refuses to go there. What we do find out is the equivalent of bottom-tier Creepypasta style story telling about a vengeful spirit and haunted Hawaiian lands that is both underwhelming and underdeveloped.
Even with all the explanations on the mechanics of what happens, it doesn’t feel satisfying because of the framing device the film utilizes. Of which, the constant back and forth flashbacks serve to arbitrarily make The Resort stand out from other films by not telling its story in a direct linear progression. Once you realize why, the eye rolls intensify as soon as you discover why the filmmakers build up to such a lackluster third act reveal without much action or intrigue. The Resort would be quite an original or exciting film if it were made forty years ago. Unfortunately, its ideas are as sturdy as the crumbling infrastructure propping up the island resort ruins.
Everywhere I normally look for positives in indie, or otherwise low-budget, films is noticeably absent. The acting ranges from mediocre to abysmal. Its script is full of paper-thin characters devoid of personality, ambition, or backstory that merely serve as vehicles for uninspired supernatural death sequences. Poorly done effects conjure more laughs than scares on a set that is so hokey and obviously cheaply constructed that it looks like the team behind a high school haunted house charity event could pull off the task more convincingly. The pièce de resistance is the obnoxious EDM soundtrack that is so tonally discordant that it actively pushes the film into further “so bad, it’s bad” territory.
Clearly, I do not have many good things to say about The Resort. My compliments will remain brief. It is a brisk film that only makes its viewers suffer for 75 minutes, so it doesn’t feel like a total waste of time. The photography is largely a plus. The drone shots of the hotel and beach have that horror in paradise ominous undertone to them, but otherwise they are not too special. Other than that, I can’t give any more credit to a film so lazily slopped together.
While admittedly not the worst horror film to come out, The Resort fails so spectacularly by how bland and unimaginative it is. It disregards its creepy location and doesn’t dive far into its own universe to explain why anyone should care. We are left knowing very little about the hotel, knowing the bare minimum about the heroes, and learning nothing about the rules of its universe. It’s poorly constructed horror that excuses its lack of direction with its paltry budget. Budget can constrain plenty, but one thing it will never do is limit creativity. Creativity is the main barrier preventing The Resort from breaking into the market, and one that should make you avoid this clunker at all costs.
Overall Score? 3/10