The Movie Waffler New Release Review [VOD] - THE RESORT | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review [VOD] - THE RESORT

the resort review
A group of friends investigate an abandoned Hawaiian resort rumoured to be haunted.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Taylor Chien

Starring: Bianca Haase, Brock O’Hurn, Michael Vlamis, Michelle Randolph

the resort poster

Sometimes a location cries out for a movie to be shot around its environs. When writer/director Taylor Chien stumbled across an abandoned holiday resort on a small Hawaiian island, he knew immediately he had to shoot a horror movie in its weed-infested grounds. Trouble was, the resort was set to be demolished in just three months time. That didn't turn off Chien however, and he managed to knock out a script and shoot his movie before the wrecking ball struck.

the resort review

Unfortunately, the resulting film – The Resort – plays exactly like a movie that has been rushed into production in such a short space of time. In the titular one time tourist trap, Chien certainly has a great setting (local legend even claims the place is haunted), but he never finds anything interesting to do with it.

The movie sees the usual group of high-cheek-boned twentysomethings gather to become grist for the gore mill. Lex (Bianca Haase) is a horror novelist seeking inspiration for her next book. Her three best mates – loudmouth Sam (Michael Vlamis), airhead Bree (Michelle Randolph) and hulking man-bun Chris (Brock O'Hurn) – chip in to treat Lex to a trip to Killahuna, a remote Hawaiian island home to a tourist resort that was shut down following a series of incidents linked to a local legend - apparently the area is haunted by a spook known as "The Half-Faced Girl."

the resort review

Even at only 75 minutes, The Resort struggles to fill its running time. It's close to the hour mark before it begins to even resemble a horror movie. Until then we spend an interminable age following our quartet (who have a combined total of four dimensions between them) as they trek through an admittedly very scenic locale and engage in bland discussions regarding the existence of the supernatural.

When the horror does finally kick in there's nothing new on offer. Had this been made not so long ago it would most likely have been a found footage movie, and it probably would have been more interesting had it employed that format (ironically, a video of drone footage our heroes watch before setting foot on the island has more eeriness than the resulting adventure). The climax is staged in near darkness, making it difficult to get a sense of what's going on and where our characters are in relation to exits and a way out of the nightmare they've stumbled into. There's a well-rendered gore effect, but it feels too over-the-top for the relatively straight drama that precedes it.

the resort review

Chien makes the mistake of adopting a flashback structure, with Lex waking in a hospital bed at the start of the movie and relating her ordeal to a disbelieving cop. This means that from the off we're aware of exactly who makes it out of all this and who doesn't, killing much of the suspense that might otherwise have gripped us. That said, these characters are so uninteresting and their journey so monotonous that by the time they're in danger you couldn't care less who makes it off the island.

The Resort
 is on UK/US/ROI VOD from April 30th.

2021 movie reviews