‘The Resort’ (2021) Review

You can check in, but you can’t check out!

The Resort is written and directed by Taylor Chien. The opening scene with the security guard checking the buildings, getting a funny jump scare from his partner, and then grabbed by some sort of supernatural creature, got my hopes up that I would love this film.

But The Resort is full of so many clichéd horror tropes that I had a hard time watching it. 

SYNOPSIS: Four friends head to Hawaii to investigate reports of a haunting at an abandoned resort in hopes of finding the infamous Half-Faced Girl. When they arrive, they soon learn you should be careful what you wish for.

Lex (Bianca Haase) is a girl after my own heart. Obsessed by everything paranormal, she is in the middle of writing a book about a resort in Hawaii, on Kilahuna island, that is now abandoned due to ghostly activity. Allegedly the resort was built on sacred ground, (did they not see Poltergeist?) and along with the regular hauntings, it got worse after a local girl was murdered by tourists. Her spirit is called the Half-Faced Girl and I expect she is not much of a looker after animals ate her dead body. The island is closed to visitors because the dead girl is not too fond of tourists and is responsible for many disappearances.

Lex has some exceptionally beautiful friends. Chris, (Brock O’Hurn) Sam, (Michael Vlanis) and Bree (Michelle Randolph) are some of the most attractive young people I have seen in a while. Not new for a horror film I know, but worth noting because well, they look good. For her birthday they got her a trip to Hawaii and a side trip to the famous Kilahuna Island Resort. Lex has some pretty cool friends.

Flashing back basically to the end, we find Lex in a hospital room. She is not sure how she got there, but she has quite a story to tell about what happened on the island. In the movie, we go back and forth between the hospital and the events at the island. I question whether it was a good idea to reveal who survives and who doesn’t right from the beginning, and it’s confusing to follow along from past to present to find out what really happened.

After getting dropped off on the island by a helicopter, the foursome hike in a truly wondrous paradise. After some skin-revealing, waterfall swimming shenanigans, they finally get to the resort. The most haunted room is 306 and after taking a few photos, Lex inadvertently leaves her backpack. Going back for it puts them in the resort dangerously after dark. Never good when you are talking about ghosts and a full moon. From there on things go downhill for the wanna-be paranormal investigators. Lex should have just used the info she saw on the YouTube videos to write her book.

Problems Galore: Sadly, I’m sorry to say, The Resort did not live up to my idea of a successful horror film. I never felt scared or worried for these kids, I was more annoyed than anything. At one point I saw Lex running without a backpack and then in the next scene it was back. That was a really glaring mistake.

I also caught myself rolling my eyes at the dialogue too many times, and even laughing at the special effects. The neon colors that looked good for much of the film, became glaring and too much towards the end.

What worked: My favorite part was the abandoned resort itself. Was it real or CGI? If it is a real abandoned and haunted hotel on a tropical island, I totally want to go there. I also loved the graphics on the poster; the bloody door card is amazing.

The cinematography was also fantastic. I really want to go to this location and the excellent photography is part of that reason.

I just wish the film as a whole had been better! I caught myself humming, “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave” instead of watching attentively.

If you like sexy, gorgeous young actors, jump scares, incredibly in-your-dreams tropical islands, The Evil Dead, (when you see it, you’ll know what I mean) and a story told backwards, then this is the horror film for you. I believe it would make a great late-night party film to play drinking games to, so it does have some redeemable value.

The Resort will be released by Vertical Entertainment on April 30, 2021, in the USA and UK.


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