The Resort Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by Vertical Entertainment
Written and directed by Taylor Chien
2021, 75 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
Released on April 30th, 2021
Michelle Randolph as Bree
Brock O'Hurn as Chris
Bianca Haase as Lex
Michael Vlamis as Sam
Love found footage ideas but can’t stand watching actual found footage movies? The Resort has you covered, providing all of the non-action and tiresome bickering of a typical found footage movie, without any of the motion sickness or incoherent cinematography. To celebrate one of their number’s birthday, a group of four friends travel to an abandoned holiday resort in Hawaii. Said to be haunted, Kilahuna Island has stood desolate for over two years, home only to a skeleton crew of guards… and the local spirit, the Half-Faced Girl.
It takes almost an hour for this seventy-five minute (!) horror movie to get going. The rest of it follows the four friends as they travel to Hawaii, then trek across miles of jungle to get to the titular resort. Slogging across miles of wasteland just to get to a not-that-nice place? That’s the perfect metaphor for what it feels like to watch The Resort. It's like flying to actual Hawaii only to discover that the hotel you've booked is a shithole and the people you're with are a gang of dullards.
Taylor Chien’s young and pretty cast are an amiable lot, but not enough to carry seventy-five minutes (thankfully less, if you include the credits) of nothing much at all. The most interesting thing to happen for the first fifty minutes is a mock YouTube video which delivers the bulk of the movie’s exposition. It also builds up the Half-Faced Girl to be a far more exciting threat than we actually get. It’s mostly promise without payoff.
All of which is a shame, since the story does hold some potential, and an execution that’s not entirely fluffed. There are some decent gore gags during the twenty minutes of action, including a ripped-off face and Evil Dead-esque reanimated corpses. While Kilahuna is too bright and pretty to ever feel intimidating, the film always looks good, and its creepy old hotel is a fun setting which could have been utilised a lot more. It’s like a brighter, sunnier version of Chernobyl Diaries. Or a less fun I Still Know What you Did Last Summer / Scooby Doo (pick your island resort horror movie of choice).
A pretty location and promising villain squandered, The Resort is one big wasted opportunity. Even if it hadn’t spent fifty minutes meandering about in the jungle, it’d still be a hot mess of clichéd and uninteresting character work. Are we there yet?
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