The Reel Review

B+

Seven strangers, each with a secret, meet on a fateful 1969 evening at the El Royale Hotel, a once popular, but now rundown establishment straddling both the California/Nevada border, and its own sordid past. While writer/director Drew Goddard (who wrote The Martian and Cloverfield) isn’t giving us a story that hasn’t been done before (Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and The Hateful Eight), what he does deliver is a mesmerizing, unpredictable story, an entertaining cast (Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Jon Hamm, and Chris Hemsworth’s distractingly flawless torso), production design with impeccable attention to 1960s detail, and Erivo’s equally flawless acting and vocals – all of which far outweigh the negatives – its overlong, two and a half hour runtime and Dakota Johnson – to make it a throughly enjoyable thrill ride.

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