In her hospital bed Alexandra Sanders wakes from fright, her dream holiday turned nightmare, trying to piece together memories of what happened to the satisfaction of Detective Peterson of the Maui Police Department. A trip to Kilahuna, an island off the north east coast of Hawaii, it is home to “the Resort,” an abandoned and supposedly haunted luxury hotel complex, Lex’s friends Chris, Bree and Sam having made the arrangements as a birthday surprise to help her research the book she is pitching.
Described as the site of “bizarre and inexplicable events” principally centred around Room 306, they are ascribed to “the Half-Face Girl,” and dropped by helicopter piloted by the obligatory herald of doom the friends must hike to the Resort, conduct their investigation, then make their way to the settlement on the south side of Kilahuna in only six hours in order to catch the boat off the island, but without maps, compass or any survival instinct, they are easy prey for the vengeful spirit of the island.
Rushed into production when writer/director Taylor Chien heard of the principal location only three months before it was scheduled to be demolished, The Resort is absent any deeper ambition than to exist, a horror movie without a single original idea or clever executed moment, perhaps a holiday in the sun for the performers but failing to use the stunning locations to the best advantage, the decaying corridors of the hotel shabby rather than sinister.
Apparently operating on the hope that repeatedly stating that something is scary will by default actually make it scary, The Resort plays like a one note Hallowe’en fright ride with special effects to match, the hospital framing story serving little purpose other than to stretch the running time which, despite only clocking in at seventy minutes minus titles, struggles to justify even that much while the cast are hard pressed to build flesh on the skeletal script.
Built around Bianca Haase as Lex, she is a writer who takes no notes, who drops her backpack in the cursed Room 306 while pouting for photos then blames her boyfriend for not picking up after her; as Chris, Brock O’Hurn is good natured but pushed to the background while the others bicker, his near silence at least preferable to Michelle Randolph’s airheaded Bree, interested only in selfies, or the persistently annoying Sam, played by Michael Vlamis as a hyperactive manchild.
Ideas are presented – faith versus scepticism, the question of whether the (unproven) existence of ultimate good by default introduces evil – but the conversations are superficial and penetrate no deeper into the plot which, when the sun falls and they find themselves unable to retrace their steps despite there being only a single entrance point, degenerates in the absence of anything more substantial to the last resort of running down corridors and screaming.
The Resort is available on digital download from Friday 30th April