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Drew Goddard, the screenwriter-cum-director whose feature debut was the meta-horror film "A Cabin in the Woods," has laid another movie trap.As anyone who's ever watched a movie knows, bad things do indeed tend to happen in motels.This time the El Royale is Goddard's hermetically sealed site. Goddard's film looks terrific and has all of the as Hamm's character would say with exaggerated Southern flare "accoutrements" of an intoxicating slow-burn thriller, but none of the payoff.Whenever Erivo is on screen, the film suddenly quivers with potential. Her character's climactic soliloquy (not to mention her singing) is a high point in "Bad Times at the El Royale" that the film doesn't quite earn.For such a specifically set movie, the motel's dark past goes curiously unexamined. Heightened as Goddard's movie is, "Bad Times at the El Royale" may be the unusual Hollywood thriller to not live up to the real-life drama of its pseudo setting.
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