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MOVIE REVIEW

Bad Times At The El Royale also known as “Malos tiempos en El Royale,” “Sale temps à l'hôtel El Royale,” “Sete Estranhos no El Royale,” “Húzós éjszaka az El Royale-ban,” “Sunkus laikai viesbutyje El Royale,” “Zle sie dzieje w El Royale,” “Vremuri grele la El Royale,” “El Royale'de Zor Zamanlar,” “7 sconosciuti a El Royale,” “Malos momentos en el Hotel Royale,” “Δύσκολες Ώρες στο Ελ Ροαγιάλ,” «Тежки времена в Ел Роял», «Ничего хорошего в отеле 'Эль Рояль'»

MPAA Rating: R-Rating (MPAA) for strong violence, language, some drug content and brief nudity.

reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Neo-Noir Mystery Thriller
Length:
2 hr. 21 min.
Year of Release:
2018
USA Release:
October 5, 2018
October 12, 2018 (wide release)
DVD: January 1, 2019
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

What is SEXUAL IMMORALITY? Answer

SEXUAL LUST—Why does God strongly warn us about it? Answer

CONSEQUENCES—What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Sexual abuse of children

The evil practice of some who manipulate naive people using biblical-sounding language

Importance of fear of the Lord

Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Robbery in the Bible

What does Scripture say about STEALING? Answer

Murder

Blackmail

What is SIN AND WICKEDNESS? Is it just “bad people” that are sinners, or are YOU a sinner? Answer

Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer

How good is good enough? Answer

Do Not Enter

The importance of confessing/acknowledging your sins to God

The importance of true repentance

Humility

Faith

Forgiveness of sin

What does God say about FORGIVENESS OF SIN? Answer

FORGIVEN?—How can I be and feel forgiven? Answer

GUILT—If God forgives me every time I ask, why do I still feel so guilty? Answer

Prayer

PRAYER—Tips for new and growing Christians

Why aren’t my prayers answered? Answer

Prayer in the Bible

Effectual prayer

Will all mankind eventually be saved? Answer

Blessed hope for confessed, repentant sinners
Is Jesus Christ the answer to your questions?
Discover the good news that Jesus Christ offers
Paradise or Pain? Why is the world the way it is?
Why is the world the way it is? If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and loving, would He really create a world like this? (filled with oppression, suffering, death and cruelty) Answer
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Featuring: Jeff BridgesFather Daniel Flynn
Chris HemsworthBilly Lee
Dakota JohnsonEmily Summerspring
Jon HammLaramie Seymour Sullivan
Nick Offerman
Katharine Isabelle … Auntie Ruth
Manny Jacinto … Wade
Cynthia Erivo … Darlene Sweet
Alvina August … Vesta Shears
Lewis Pullman … Miles
See all »
Director: Drew Goddard—“The Cabin in the Woods” (2012)
Producer: Twentieth Century Fox
Steve Asbell
See all »
Distributor: Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Trademark logo.
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

A grim, twisted and grisly display of dark human depravity

The El Royale Hotel. What once was a promising beacon of promise, full of residents and guests from all over the country has now, in the 1960s mind you, become a place of filth, forgotten by many, except those who truly wish to seek it out, for one reason or another.

Enter our four guests of the El Royale: a priest named Father Flynn (Jeff Bridges), Darlene, an up and coming singer, Emily (Dakota Johnson), a criminal on the run, Dwight (Jon Hamm), a supposed “salesman.” Upon signing the registry, everyone agrees that they all wish to be left alone and go about their business, whatever that may be. However, their lives are about to become more intertwined than they originally intended. At the El Royale, not everyone is who they say they are; everyone has a past, and this Hotel may just be their undoing.

Just when I thought Hollywood couldn’t sink any lower in terms of immorality, out comes “Bad Times…,” which, for all its cinematic mastery (truly, there wasn’t a cinematic quality that wasn’t on point, with perhaps the pacing in the final act), is a completely, unethical film that sticks its nose up at God and everything Christians stands for.

In addition to the plethora of violence, language and disturbing sexual content (involving very young teenage girls and an older male!!), there are even moments in the film where characters outright attack Christianity in subtle and not so subtle ways. ***SLIGHT SPOILER*** A supposed priest ends up not being a priest and states why he chose that disquise—because people tend not to question priests or their motives. A secondary character, Billy Lee (Chris Hemsworth), plays a cult leader who states that there is no God, we choose what is right and wrong—and that you are your own god).

I could go on and on with this issue (and yes there are some spiritual issues I actually CAN draw from this film that I will discuss later, if you are so inclined to read on, though I can’t imagine why), but if what I haven’t already stated hasn’t deterred you yet, let me state that the film is rated R for a reason, and I firmly believe that it could have easily scored an NC-17.

Sexual Content/Dialog: Extreme. *If you are seriously considering viewing this movie, I STRONGLY advise reading this portion of the review.* The hotel manager, Miles, goes into some incredibly graphic descriptions about events he’s spied on that have occurred in the various hotel rooms, including beastiality. (I will NOT go into these as it is not appropriate.) The character Billy Lee (Hemsworth) is portrayed as one (notice I say ONE) of the most morally depraved characters, as all the members in his cult are young female girls (mostly teenagers) that are physically and sexually obsessed with him. In one scene, he has two teenage girls fight each other to earn the right to sleep with him. He talks about being aroused by young girls. He is also seen caressing many of the teenage girls during a bonfire. Teenage sexual assault is implied in one scene between a daughter and her father. Adult sexual assault is referenced as having occurred throughout the hotel, and related discussions occur multiple times throughout the film. Shown from the rear, a man strips naked in front of a young female stranger as he goes to swim in the ocean. There are talks about prostitution, and one woman is called a whore.

Violence: Two characters are shot at close range with a shotgun (one with blood splattering onto the screen and one character is shown hitting the floor and blood spilling from him). There is stabbing and slicing. A kidnapped girl is dragged across the floor, tied to a chair and we witness bruises and marks all over her face and body. A character knocks a female character out with a glass object. A character poisons a drink. Two female characters are seen fighting each other. A daughter is abused by her father and knocked to the ground. Another character is shot in the face. There is an extensive fight scene where people are tackled, kicked and punched. A female is shot while her sister watches emotionless.

Vulgarity/Profanity: Extreme— “motherf**ker” (1), other f-words (15+), “scr*wing,” “diddle,” “sh*t” (7), “a**-hole” (1), “a**,” “N*gro” (2). Profanity includes: “J*sus Chr*st” (2), “J*sus” (2), “G*d-d*mn” (1), and “H*ll” (3).

Spiritual Issues

The character Billy Lee reminds me of our enemy, Satan—ever-real, ever present. In the film, Billy Lee tells his followers: “There is no God. We are God. We determine what is right and wrong.”

Those who struggle in their faith must be on guard, because Satan watches and preys on people with the very words Billy Lee has spoken. Satan’s ultimate goal is to draw those who are close to God away from His presence, to separate us from God for all eternity.

Who is SATAN, the enemy of God and all people? Answer

Is Satan A REAL PERSON that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer

SATAN’S STRATEGY—What is one of Satan’s most successful strategies in dealing with followers of Christ? Answer

What are DEVILS and DEMONS in the Bible

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” —1 Peter 5:8-9

Satan will even take God’s Word and twist it to make it sound like it came from God’s Word, but it will be not be from God at all.

“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” -Acts 20:28-30

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” —2 Timothy 4:3-4

Stand firm in the Truth! Difficulties come and go, but our Lord is forever. Truths come and go with every social issue, but God’s Truth is the only Truth that can stand the test of time and can endure forever.

“He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true.” —John 3:33

“Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” —Psalm 25:5

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” —John 14:6

Closing Thoughts

Before I go to the theater, I give every film a fair chance—a equal playing field. Occasionally, I look at some preliminary thoughts from others, but, in the end, everyone starts at square one. With “Bad Times…”, every part of me wanted to give this film some sort of chance, some hope that, despite it’s R-rating, I could by-pass the content and say, “Content aside, this film is okay for adults only.” But once again, Hollywood keeps digging a grave that grows deeper and deeper in sin and depravity, and “Bad Times” is just another example. In case I haven’t been clear, DO NOT see this film under any circumstances. There is nothing redeeming about this film. It’s certainly not for children; it’s not for adults; it’s not for Christians.

In the meantime, and in closing, pray for Hollywood. Pray hard, pray often. If this is what is being produced, pray for this world. For we Christians are sometimes the only testimony the rest of the world will ever see and maybe, just maybe, we’ll see some “good times” from Hollywood soon.

  • Sex: Very Heavy
  • Nudity: Very Heavy
  • Violence: Very Heavy
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Very Heavy
  • Profane language: Heavy
  • Occult: None
Editor’s Note: A point of possible interest to some, Drew Goddard, the writer/director/producer of this movie, is reportedly an active Roman Catholic. Other productions in which he has been involved are the horror films “The Cabin in the Woods” (writer/director), “Cloverfield” (writer)—and producer of sequels 2 and 3, “World War Z” (writer), and writer of some episodes of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” He was a script consultant for “Deadpool 2” and creator/executive producer of “Daredevil” (Netflix).

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I completely disagree with the reviewer’s interpretation of this film. The film features extensive violence, language, and some sexual content, but so does life. And so does The Bible.

I found the film to be about grace, forgiveness, and love triumphing over evil. The film is about people who struggle with guilt and who are seeking redemption from their past sins. The most heroic character in the film is a devout Christian, and ***SPOILER*** she joins with another man filled with guilt to help a man who is dying forgive himself before he goes to God. ***END SPOILER*** How one could find a film filled with this much love offensive I don't understand.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
Aaron, age 30 (USA)
Editor’s Note: When a dying sinner is going to meet the Judge of his soul, helping that person forgive HIMSELF is not the correct goal. A true follower of Christ should be helping that person confess their personal sins to God, fully repent of their sins, believe in Jesus Christ as genuinely the ONLY way to eternal life with God, begging for GOD’S forgivness of their sins and committing their soul to their Creator. [see: Gospel / Evangelism / etc.]
Neutral
Neutral—This has spoilers… This movie is full of bad language, sexual descriptions of all types, and strong and gory violence. Only mature adults should view this movie.

There are many situations involving religion. They range from sacrilegious to an earnest attempt to get forgiveness. Here is the spoiler. The part where a character is dying and another character helps him repent and live his final moments serving God, left me sobbing in the theater. My thoughts were about how God can use anyone to bring someone back into the fold in terms of the characters in the movie. Then, more broadly, God can use that scene to reach out and bring His sheep back into his fold. I actually asked for forgiveness during that scene and wept. Thank God for that scene.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
Tanya, age 43 (USA)
Negative
Negative—Very slow to start story, so first third was boring. When the plot started moving along, it was dark, unpleasant and completely devoid of value. I found it degrading and not entertaining. SAVE YOUR MONEY !
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
Leonardo, age 76 (USA)

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.

Secular Movie Critics
…spectacularly photographed… dazzling, convoluted… vibrant… twisty tale… although it’s long, melodramatic and messy…
William Bibbiani, The Wrap
…beautifully staged… Classy pulp fiction…
Alex Godfrey, Empire
…There’s ample amusement in the twists, betrayals and revelations that unspool. But Bad Times never really transcends the inherent limitations of its setup; it’s fun, but fleeting. …
Tim Grierson, Screen Daily
…If you’re looking for a thrilling whodunit, there’s nothing in this film that hasn’t been done – and done better – a dozen times before. …
Matthew Monagle, Austin Chronicle
…Ponderously telling some parts of its sketch-of-a-story from multiple points of view, it’s an excruciating exercise in self-indulgence, packed with flashbacks and those big speeches/big scenes that draw names like Oscar winner Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson and Jon Hamm to its cast. It adds up to nothing more than two hours and 21 minutes of tedium, with the odd spasm of violence, back-story or musical interlude …
Roger Moore, Movie Nation
…an elaborate thriller where the location is everything, and the twists disappoint… taxingly slow and almost oppressively self-indulgent, constantly backtracking and replaying already-drawn-out scenes from multiple perspectives…
Peter Debruge, Variety