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Review: Taylor Chien’s THE RESORT

I don’t like to shit all over someone’s hard work, but the fact of the matter is – Taylor Chien’s The Resort really, really isn’t any good. Normally, I wouldn’t lead a review with this, but considering the movie is currently screening in select theaters, I wanted to make my opinion very clear that it’s not worth the price of a movie ticket and overpriced snacks. I watched the film at home with my husband and my best friend, because it’s also available on demand, and even my best friend payed me back for the rental. The problem here is – you need a lot more than a promising story idea, a beautiful location and attention grabbing promotional media to inspire an audience to applaud your picture. While I commend Taylor Chien for his efforts here, they were basically all for nothing.

The Resort follows a fiction writer in desperate need of inspiration for her next novel. When she discovers an abandoned hotel resort off of Hawaii, she embarks on a journey to discover its secrets with her three best friends in tow. The hotel has a torrid history, most noticeably in regards to Room 306 and a specter known only as The Half-Faced Girl. After exploring the island and causing a small ruckus in the barren hotel, night falls on the group and they’re suddenly thrust into a spooky obstacle course as they transverse the building and its surrounding gardens – all in hopes of finding their lost belongings and the correct trail to lead home. Of course, the further they go into the hotel, the more they witness paranormal … which quickly escalate into terrifying apparitions that threaten to claim their lives.

Written, directed and produced by Taylor Chien, The Resort stars Bianca Haase, Brock O’Hurn, “Roswell, New Mexico” star Michael Vlamis, Michelle Randolph, Dave Sheridan, Romualdo Castillo and Nayeli Morales as The Half-Faced Girl. The film features cinematography by Adriaan Kirchner and editing by Joe Homokay. Justin Chien, Will Meldman and Sam Mobley also produced.

Yeah, so, The Resort was pretty much a big mess. I would have passed on it completely had the it not been for the editing in the trailer and the alluring good looks of Brock O’Hurn. The shot of him shirtless in the trailer was enough to make me push rent, and yes, I am desperate enough to mention that. I don’t know when this entered into principal photography, and the only reason I ponder that question is because I wonder if it was a real abandoned hotel or a vacant hotel due to COVID-19. Regardless, if production had enough money to budget in a big ass hotel, they had enough money to put a little effort into filming a worthy picture. Half of the scenes needed another take, or a better take in general, because it suffered from a major case of bad acting. I don’t know if everything behind-the-scenes was rushed, but I can’t imagine the actors were happy with their performances here.

It takes more than a beautiful location and a badly pixilated CGI ghost girl to make a horror film. You need mood, you need atmosphere, you need suspense. The Resort has none of that. Time-wise, 70% of the movie was spent developing the relationships between characters, 25% was spent exploring the purportedly haunted location and the final 5% was dedicated to trying to scare viewers… and absolutely failing. Nothing happens. Absolutely nothing. And when it does, it’s crammed into the final ten minutes that culminates in an ending that literally just ends. Ghost. Hospital room. Yell. Blue room. Credits. No sense, no ingenuity, no explanation point. Going back to my point above, I don’t know if they ran into some time issues while filming this movie, because it honestly reads like they said “let’s just get this done as quick as possible.” I don’t know how it made it into theaters.

I wanted to like this movie. I’m an early Summer-starter, and watching it the first day of May felt right. The tropical vibe, the bathing suits, the ocean. Unfortunately, The Resort has nothing to offer to horror fans unless you’re low on the scare scale. We ended up playing with my hamster more than watching this movie, and that’s sad because it had so much potential. Because of this, I really can’t recommend this movie to anyone unless you want to pay $8.99 for some background noise while you’re cleaning the house. O’Hurn can definitely call me though…………

Final Score: 3.5 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)

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