The Resort (2021) Movie Review
The Resort follows a group of four friends making a trip to an isolated part of Hawaii to investigate a legend. After hearing about a haunting at an abandoned resort. Lex encourages her friends to accompany her to the island. Determined to uncover the mystery of The Half Faced Girl. Lex doesn't realise just what she is getting herself into.
Welcome to Knockout Horror. We are back with another addition to our Summer Scares feature today as we will be reviewing Supernatural horror movie The Resort from 2021. It’s August, it has been raining every day for over a month in Wales. So let’s indulge in some scares in the sun. All of these movies have one thing in common. No, not that they are all completely awful which has actually been the case so far. Each of these movies feature a summer time theme.
We have some good news and some bad news when it comes to this movie. The good news? You can go and watch this for free right now on streaming service Tubi. The bad news? It’s bloody awful! I am sticking with Tubi as I really want to chip away at some of the free stuff that is available to horror fans at the moment. The cost of living increases means a lot of people are getting rid of their subscription services. I think it’s only right that at least one horror site turns its focus to the stuff that is available without a subscription. That’s what I have been doing and intend to keep on doing for the near future.
It has to be said, though. Outside of the well known, and well regarded, horror movies that Tubi has managed to scoop up. Most of the stuff they have to offer is really bad. Their Tubi Originals are a collection of some of the worst horror movies I have watched in ages. The rest of the stuff is just low budget crap that nobody else seems to want. Of course, there are a few exceptions as I highlight in this post. But, as a whole, it’s not great. Which brings us onto The Resort.
A Deceptive Start
Directed and written by Taylor Chien. The Resort follows a group of four friends making a trip to an isolated part of Hawaii to investigate a legend. After hearing about a haunting at an abandoned resort. Lex (Bianca Haase) encourages her friends to accompany her to the island. Determined to uncover the mystery of The Half Faced Girl. Lex doesn’t realise just what she is getting herself into.
So pretty basic stuff as far as horror goes and the start of the movie is fairly promising. Some fairly suspect acting by Bianca Haase and Brock O’Hurn is easy to forgive as this is a fairly likable group with a fairly simple motive. Hit up a spooky abandoned resort, investigate a haunting and get the hell out. There’s nothing too complicated here; just standard haunted house horror fare with the addition of bikinis, sun and six packs (from O’Hurn at least).
Chemistry between the friends feels pretty organic. There is a lot less of the typically obnoxious banter you usually see between groups of 30 somethings in horror. There’s the occasional laugh and some of the scenery is stunning. It’s all pretty standard stuff for a horror set in a sunny location. We occasionally flash back to the present where a character sits in a hospital bed. Indicating that something awful has happened. But we aren’t quite sure what and it will be awhile before we find out. Things really do move slowly in the world of The Resort.
In fact, things move incredibly slowly. As in, nothing really happens for the first 45 minutes or so. We have the typical party scene to set up the vacation; we have a helicopter ride over stunning scenery. We have a few scenes of the group hiking to the location. And a traditional, old fashioned, close-ups on boobs and butts while pectoral muscles glisten in the sun, scene of the group swimming next to a waterfall. Followed by some more hiking. It all looks quite nice but it is all a bit pointless and laboured. Decent cinematography of, ultimately, inconsequential scenery.
It’s slow going. This must be building up to something epic, right? The group arrive at their location that is, to be fair, rather interesting looking. If you are a fan of urban exploration you may enjoy this part. The fascinating 70’s style architecture is impossible not to enjoy. With the Makena Beach & Golf Resort looking every bit the holiday hot spot from days gone by. But nothing really happens there.
We are subject to another 15 minutes of them exploring. It takes until the 50 minute mark before something actually starts to happen. Now I am going to imagine some of the audience will have mentally checked out by this point. Fifty minutes of nothing happening is a big ask. It’s going to take something intriguing to bring people back in.
Alas, it isn’t going to happen. Ten more minutes of suspenseful, but not really, walking around in the dark. Suddenly gives way to ten minutes of utterly farcical fair ground haunted house horror shite. That gives the distinct impression the crew were completely out of money and completely out of ideas. Dodgy special effects, events occurring with little explanation, kills that come out of nowhere and make no sense. It’s pretty awful stuff.
As The Resort twitched uncontrollably in its death throes. Begging to expire and end both its own and the viewer’s suffering. I couldn’t help but think that this is a writer that had no idea how they wanted to end this movie. And no idea what the movie was actually supposed to be about. There is no structure here.
There is the absolute bare minimum concept for a horror movie and very little else. We have a setup, a location, and a question mark. Almost like the movie was written based on the journey to the spooky location with no thought given to what happens when they arrive. The backstory of the Half Faced Woman is virtually non-existent. The motivation of the characters is poorly fleshed out. And the reasons for the events taking place at the end seem ridiculous.
And It Just Looks So Silly
On top of all that, it just looks so silly. You can tell that the entirety of the budget went into the special effects at the end. There is something of an Evil Dead quality to them. With much of what happens feeling like an ode to older horror movies. But it just looks so naff. One character, in particular, really conjured up memories of the video to the Michael Jackson mega-hit Thriller. But not in a good way.
Throw in a whole heap of horror cliches like contorted limbs, ridiculous makeup that looks like a Halloween mask, and predictable scares. Along with a pace that feels like doing 90mph on a 30mph road and it’s hard to keep track. Everything is so rushed and so messy that you feel like you have genuinely wasted your time. I am not sure what the writer’s actual initial concept for the ending was. But surely it can’t be this?
Lots of Technical Issues
A lot of these low budget horror movies are making me wonder whether people actually bother to hire sound crew anymore? These all sound completely awful. The Resort is no different. I had my TV up to nearly 2 thirds of its volume capacity just to hear the character’s talk. Audio hisses profusely and often echos. There is tons of background noise and characters having separate conversations often overlap. Resulting in a barrage of talking that is incredibly difficult to follow. It’s like Chien didn’t realise that he was supposed to direct his background cast to pretend to talk. Not actually have full blown, top of their voice, conversations that are picked up clearly on the mics.
There are a bunch of continuity issues. Be it a backpack with a mind of its own or props moving around between scenes. Lex’s top repeatedly changes position like she was being constantly reminded to “show more cleavage”. Some of the shots are poorly lit making the movie a bit of a drag to look at here and there. The timeline is messy. With night falling in the space of about five minutes at one point. I know the sun sets early in Hawaii but this was taking the piss. The weather seems to jump about a bit between outdoor shots as well. Sometimes seeming massively overcast and other times being glorious. It’s all pretty inconsistent but the sound production is by far the biggest offender.
Mixed Acting and a Bad Script
Let’s be real, I don’t think these people were hired for their acting skills. This is a good looking group. Michelle Randolph and Bianca Haase are two of the prettiest lead women I have seen in a horror in ages. Randolph came into this movie in the kind of shape I imagine athletes get into for competitions. I don’t think she had an ounce of fat on her. And I am fairly sure Brock O’Hurn was chiseled from rock somewhere in Greece. I consider myself to be a decent looking guy but this mother fucker is a 6 foot 7 Adonis. He made me feel like Gollum’s slightly better looking second cousin.
The acting was, however, generally lacking. Haase really struggles with delivery and her enunciation needs some serious work. She can be difficult to understand and her emotional reaction to events feels very plastic. She has promise, though, and is competent in parts. O’Hurn felt well out of his depth. He has that kind of wooden delivery that you would expect from asking a non-actor to act. Everything comes across incredibly flat and unconvincing. He does look like he might be part wolf though, so that is pretty cool.
Michelle Randolph has a fairly limited role but I thought she was pretty good. She was convincing as a bit of an airhead character and has confident delivery. Michael Vlamis, as Sam, is probably the highlight of the movie with his excellent delivery and decent comedy timing. He seemed far more experienced that the rest of the cast. Consistently confident and with excellent enunciation. Not that it matters a great deal because the script frequently lets the actors down. It is frequently remedial and provokes eye rolls on a consistent basis.
Final Thoughts and Score
What starts as a fairly standard vacation horror movie slowly and painfully transforms into a rather farcical fairground haunted house ride. Complete with dodgy effects, questionable makeup, and a breakneck pace that aims to cram 90 minutes of scares into 10 minutes of time. The Resort is a painful and demanding uphill hike for most of its length. Promising gorgeous views and fun in the sun. What it actually delivers is a rundown holiday location with nothing to look at and even less to enjoy.
Acting is mixed but some may enjoy the aesthetically pleasing cast. The script is really bad despite the occasional laughs. And the pacing is snail like until the last ten minutes. Scares are non-existent. There is no reason to invest in the cast or the backstory of the location and no reason to sit through the first dull 50 minutes. The best thing I can suggest is that you cancel all plans to visit The Resort. It won’t be worth the journey. You can check The Resort out now on Tubi for free.