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The Resort (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)


The Resort

Starring Bianca Haase, Brock O’Hurn, Michael Vlamis, Michelle Randolph, Dave Sheridan, Dante Jiminez, Romualdo Castillo, Rodney Gemberling, Richard Teston, Andy Bumatai, Rebecca Jarvis, Casey Dacanay, Avery Pascual, Joaquin Veizaga, Kevin Petitto, Thomas Sanchez, Maria Olson, Josh Willis, Lizze Gordon and Nayeli Morales.

Screenplay by Taylor Chien.

Directed by Taylor Chien.

Distributed by Vertical Entertainment. 74 minutes. Not Rated.

Exploring abandoned places (malls, amusement parks, hospitals, hotels, mansions, etc.) has become a popular pastime for somewhat adventurous sorts. Checking out the ruins of a formerly grand structures or areas which have been left to rot is both fascinating and sometimes dangerous. And often illegal.

Urban exploration is an ideal concept for a thriller. (American Horror Story: Asylum touched on the idea briefly, but it was just a minor subplot of a very different main story.) Something massive which has been left to decay is just an intriguing and somewhat scary proposition. Add to that the lack of power and light, the solitude, the dangerous ricketiness of the structure, wildlife intruding on the structure, the broken glass and furniture everywhere – and you have the recipe for a chilling film. That isn’t even touching on the possibility of ghosts.

It’s a really smart idea for a potentially terrific horror film.

The Resort is not quite that hoped-for good urban exploration fright movie, though it tries to be, and it does start out fairly promisingly.

The resort in the title was a huge hotel on a small Hawaiian island which closed down soon after it opened, supposedly haunted by a legendary “half-faced girl” who was murdered on the island decades before. No one seems to know if it is real or if it is a myth – all they know for sure is that a multi-million-dollar tourist location was left to rot on the power of the stories.

No one is supposed to go on the island – although of course some thrill seekers do. No one is supposed to be able to go on the grounds of the resort, although honestly there is only a fence and two security guards to keep people out.

One of these thrill seekers is Lex (Bianca Haase), a ghost-obsessed blogger who gets a birthday gift from her boyfriend (Brock O’Hurn) and their besties (Michael Vlamis and Michelle Randolph) – a helicopter ride to the mysterious island. Despite the warnings of the oddball pilot, they are all looking forward to this trip, to see and chronicle the site.

They hike miles across the island to arrive at the resort. Once they get there, things basically seem okay, spooky but not too weird. That is until, of course, they miss the chance to make the boat back and get stuck in the resort after dark.

Even at a criminally short 74 minutes long, The Resort often feels a little bit padded – at least up until the last 15 minutes, when everything scary happens in a bit too much of a rush. In fact, very little that could be considered frightening happens in the first 45 minutes to an hour. However, there is some spectacular Hawaiian scenery and also some drop-dead gorgeous actors to distract.

The lead actors, while all beautiful and likable in their own ways, are not exactly master thespians. This can be a bit of a problem because there are only four characters with any significant screen time. (Five if you count the detective. Six if you count the ghost.) I mean, I get that you don’t need Meryl Streep for a horror film, but still…. I hate to single anyone out, but Dave Sheridan, who plays the detective questioning Lex about her experience, has some particularly awkward line readings.

And honestly, when she eventually appears, the Half-Faced Girl is a bit of a letdown, a pretty standard-variety modern film spook.

The Resort isn’t the first film that has a better concept than it can execute, and it won’t be the last one, either. I want to give the film a little leeway because it’s a cool idea. Hopefully, someone else will pick up on the notion and make a film worthy of its idea.

Alex Diamond

Copyright ©2021 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: April 30, 2021.

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