The Resort: Film Review

The Resort

I don’t tell people to outright avoid a film that often because that’s a piece of advice I take quite seriously. However, I think The Resort warrants that instruction.

The horror, written and directed by Taylor Chien, stars Bianca Haase as Lex, a writer obsessed with the paranormal who is planning to write a story about the Half-Faced Girl, a ghost who haunted guests staying at a resort on a Hawaiian island. As a birthday treat, her friends Chris (Brock O’Hurn), Bree (Michelle Randolph), and Sam (Michael Vlamis) organise a trip to the abandoned island so the four of them can find out if the infamous Half-Faced Girl still haunts the deserted resort.

I haven’t seen a film this poorly made in a while. It’s so bafflingly bad that I legitimately stared at the screen as the credits rolled trying to figure out what the heck just happened. This film is only 75 minutes long, which I considered a great thing before I pressed play, but it turns out it wasn’t because it doesn’t feel like a proper feature film with a beginning, middle and end. The build-up to entering the resort at night-time takes up the majority of the running time so the “inside the resort at night” portion felt completely rushed, as if Chien didn’t really know what to do once the Half-Faced Girl shows up and ended it too quickly, and the main beats of the story didn’t feel thought out properly.

I’m quite a scaredy cat and I don’t watch horrors too often so I was concerned about watching this but I didn’t need to worry. There are a couple of moments in which I thought “Oh, something’s going to happen soon!” but largely, the film felt devoid of any suspense or tension, which the audience should feel before something scary happens. The atmosphere that usually makes me reach for a cushion just wasn’t there.

I don’t like to criticise any filmmaker for having a small budget but I think effective horrors can be made on a shoestring if the director picks scares that align with the budget. There are a couple of moments in The Resort that would have been gruesome and horrifying if the practical effects budget was bigger to make them seem more realistic. By the same token, the Half-Faced Girl would have been far more terrifying if the CGI was better. The encounters with the Half-Faced Girl are robbed of any impact due to these poor effects and the rushed ending.

I wish I could say those were all my issues but I actually have more. The acting isn’t great, but I don’t want to heap blame on the leads because they were given a shoddy screenplay. With the exception of Lex, who gets a little bit of fleshing out (not much though), we don’t really know who these characters are so we don’t care about their fate. Sam and Brie are particularly poorly written, with Sam being this annoying douchebag and Brie basically there as the eye candy. The story didn’t completely work structurally either – cutting between the action on the resort and Lex recalling what happened in a hospital interrupted the flow of the narrative and foreshadowed the ending.

I hardly ever call for films to be longer (especially ones I’m not enjoying) but this needed an extra 10 minutes or so to create a proper conclusion because it basically just feels like there’s a beginning and a middle and then a one-minute ending. It just stops!

The concept was promising, if unoriginal, and there are some cool drone shots of the island and the abandoned resort, but those are the only positives I took from a film that just felt rushed, half-arsed and sloppy. I’m not particularly observant but even I spotted a continuity error (watch the blue backpack disappear and reappear)! I’m not a reviewer who likes to be overly mean for the sake of it – these are all genuine criticisms and I hope you will use your time better elsewhere.

The Resort will be released on digital and on demand via platforms such as Sky Store, Virgin, iTunes, Amazon, Microsoft Store, Google Play, and Chili from Friday 30th April

Rating: 1 out of 5.

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