The trailer for Bad Times at the El Royale finds Drew Goddard directing a movie for the first time since his debut on The Cabin in the Woods. Far from resting on his laurels, Goddard has written a blockbuster hit (The Martian), launched a Netflix series (Marvel's Daredevil), and worked on various other film scripts and TV shows (The Defenders, The Good Place) in the six years since his and Joss Whedon's meta horror/comedy hit theaters. On top of all that, he's now gearing up to shoot the Deadpool movie spinoff X-Force after he puts the final touches on Bad Times.
Bad Times at the El Royale might not be the exercise in self-reflexiveness that Cabin in the Woods is, but that doesn't mean it's a run of the mill genre movie either. The film's premise isn't too far off from James Mangold's 2003 noir throwback Identity, in that it concerns a group of strangers meeting up at a seedy hotel where bad things start to happen. However, where Identity was a classic whodunit with a psychological twist, Bad Times may have something very different up its sleeves, going by the trailer.
The Bad Times ensemble includes Goddard's Cabin in the Woods star Chris Hemsworth as a shirtless cult leader, along with Jon Hamm as a (possibly mad) salesman and Jeff Bridges as a struggling "priest". Set at Lake Tahoe's El Royale hotel circa 1969, the film puts these three not-so-wise men on a collision course with Dakota Johnson and Cailee Spaeny as two sisters on the run, as well as Cynthia Erivo as a singer who's seen better days. Making it seven is Lewis Pullman as a concierge at the El Royale who, judging by the Bad Times trailer, might want to look into finding himself a new profession.
The trailer for Bad Times at the El Royale further drives home the idea that no one is who they claim to be, as far as the guests at the El Royale are concerned. Those who run the establishment are clearly suspect too, though it's not clear just yet who "they" even are, much less what they want. Similarly, at least a few of the guests at the hotel seem to have some prior connection or have crossed paths at some point before this night.
As such, Bad Times seems to have a few things in common with Cabin in the Woods - when it comes to plot - and further begs comparison to a Coen Brothers crime movie (Blood Simple in particular), when it comes to tone and style. Between that and the great cast assembled here, Bad Times at the El Royale is shaping up to be one of this fall's more intriguing original films. The fact that it also includes a shirtless, dancing, and maybe evil Chris Hemsworth is just the icing on this cake.
Source: 20th Century Fox