Seasoned horror viewers will likely have seen much of the goings-on in writer/director Taylor Chien’s The Resort (U.S., 2021) before, but the film offers enough isolated haunted hotel ambiance and gruesome goings-on to warrant a visit to the titular lodging.
It’s paranormal-topics writer Lex’s (Bianca Haase) birthday, and her three friends Bree (Michelle Randolph), Chris (Brock O’Hurn), and Sam (Michael Vlamis) surprise her with a trip to Hawaii to visit an abandoned, reputedly haunted island resort that she is researching about, which happens to be off-limits to visitors. They have one chance to leave the small island that evening, according to the shady pilot who agreed to fly them there for a price, but an otherworldly force has different plans for them.
The Resort basically lets viewers in on a big spoiler within the first six minutes, which takes much of the suspense out of the film except for how and when certain people will die. Lex is hospitalized, and a detective (Dave Sheridan) grills her about the events on the resort island, highly skeptical of her supernatural story about the ghost of a half-faced girl — a girl allegedly murdered by tourists, which caused the resort to be closed and the island to be made off limit to tourists — being responsible for the death of her three friends.
A technically sound film with crisp cinematography from Adriaan Kirchner, gorgeous location settings, creepy set design, and some sharp special effects and makeup work — one particular scene involving facial trauma is absolutely outstanding —The Resort falls short in delivering anything new or suspenseful to current fright-fare cinema. Chien takes a number of modern horror and police procedural tropes and combines them into a blend that comes off as derivative (including some Evil Dead-inspired returns) and, because of its upfront spoiler and its flashback approaches, less than thrilling. The characters, however, are much more likeable than in many recent twentysomething-featured fear-fare outings, and the cast does a solid job. The Resort is recommended for island-set horror movie completists and those looking for a supernatural chiller that focuses on action.
The Resort, from Vertical Entertainment, will be released in the U.K. On Digital and On Demand on April 30th, 2021. The film will be available on Sky Store, Virgin, iTunes, Amazon, Microsoft Store, Google Play, and Chili.
The Resort will also be released in the U.S. in select theaters and On Demand on April 30th.