The marketing campaign around Drew Goddard’s latest film, Bad Times at the El Royale, is starting to heat up. The trailer has dropped just a week after he released first look pictures and gave us some hints about the plot.
I was lucky enough to do the write up of the initial photos, which had me sold already. Lush use of color, 1969 setting, and a mystery that is an homage to early film noir. Throw in Jeff Bridges, Chris Hemsworth (I feel like we need to note again that he is shirtless, A LOT in this movie), Jon Hamm, and Dakota Johnson and I think most of us would collectively say “Shut up and take my money!” But if you haven’t been convinced yet that this movie is going to be kick ass, please acquaint yourself with the trailer and then join me again below to discuss/wildly speculate as one does on the internet.
According to Bad Times official synopsis, seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, meet at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone will have a last shot at redemption… before everything goes to hell. As we can see in the trailer, the hotel is situated on the border of Nevada and California, allowing it to straddle two states. Because of this, I think gambling, and debts owed will play a large part in the story. We see that Jeff Bridges is not really a priest, and in fact looks to be the same body type as one of the bank robbers shown in other snippets. It seems like everyone is not who they appear – why does Jon Hamm’s vacuum salesman know how to expertly pick a lock? Is Dakota Johnson the one we see execute an amazing jump and grab of the chandelier like some sort of super spy? And who, or what, is the mysterious management that is bugging the rooms and watching everyone from a secret passageway?
Hemsworth is playing a “charismatic cult leader” and the shot of him and his cult members menacingly stalking through a beautiful open field gave me the chills. Goddard had previously hinted that “historical figures” from 1969 would be around – but is Hemsworth actually supposed to BE Charles Manson? Maybe Dakota and her captive (Cailee Spaeny) are on the run from the cult? What is the singer’s (Cynthia Erivo) sordid secret? Who knows? We all will have to wait until October 5th to find out.