People going to places they’ve been told not to? Check. A creepy, deserted place that’s meant to be haunted? Check. Ignoring the warning to get off the island before sundown? Check. The Resort is packed with clichés but, ultimately, it's a harmless, fun mainstream horror film.
Young writer Lex (Bianca Haase) gets the perfect gift from her friends for her birthday - a trip to an abandoned Hawaiian island hotel that has a reputation to be haunted. To be fair, she is meant to be writing a piece on the paranormal and the legend of the ‘Half-faced Girl’ is a great temptation for her. She’s a bit miffed, then, that when they get to the island (by hiring a helicopter pilot), the rest of the gang want to hit the beach and explore elsewhere. Lex is desperate to get to the hotel, despite being warned that the only boat out from the island leaves and they eventually give the birthday girl her treat. The hotel is certainly creepy as it’s so quiet and empty, but the ominous room 306, which is meant to be haunted, doesn’t let loose its ghost. Not initially, anyway.
The biggest problem with The Resort is the structure; writer/director Taylor Chien’s story is told in flashback as Lex is being interviewed in her hospital bed by a detective (in a room that happens to have a teaching skeleton, but, yeah… ok). This tells us she survived - so no threat there. It also reveals she was the only survivor - so the rest are getting killed off. Had the story been presented in a regular fashion, we’re sure it would have been more effective. Also the group isn’t the most likeable. There’s the long-haired muscle guy (Brock O’Hurn, looking desperately like he wants to be Chris Hemsworth), the chipper bestie (Michelle Randolph), and the goof-ball who likes to prank (Michael Vlamis). Lex doesn’t seem the most fun to be around, either. They are also all creeped out by rather than in awe of a murmuration of birds, which is a strange reaction.
There’s still enough to recommend as when things kick off, there’s one particularly good gore effect, and the uninhabited location adds an eerie atmosphere, but those wanting something a little more intense will be left lacking. That’s not to say there are not some good jump scares along the way, but with the majority of the threat diluted by the flashback narrative. The other elements needed to be much stronger for us to recommend to a die-hard horror audience.
Release Date: April 30th (Digital), June 7th (DVD)