A half-faced girl isn’t the only reason to avoid visiting the abandoned Hawaiian resort in writer-director Taylor Chien’s indie horror. Horrendous writing, questionable sound quality and an absence of scares are just some of the quirks which distinguish The Resort as the worst scary film of the year.
It’s paranormal-obsessed Lex’s (Bianca Haase) birthday and her three friends (Michelle Randolph, Brock O’Hurn and Michael Vlamis) have surprised her by organising a trip to Hawaii to celebrate. However, this isn’t just any tropical getaway; they’ve managed to secure transport to a deserted hotel complex that’s said to be inhabited by a ghostly presence responsible for numerous unexplained disappearances and the reason behind the hotel’s closure. Understandably, it’s only Lex who regards these superstitions with some degree of seriousness, but horror conventions demand that these arrogant white people pay the ultimate price for dismissing warnings so readily.
However, despite the flick’s mercifully short 75-minute runtime, there’s a long time to wait before any of the ghostly happenings occur. Aside from a brief spooky introduction that has zero relevance later, much of the plot is spent with the youngsters talking about and walking to their destination. They goof around to the beats of generic pop tunes, make abysmal jokes and uncomfortable sex references and discuss their differing paranormal beliefs. Nothing about the time they spend together suggests that they genuinely care about each other or have a personality of their own, which makes it impossible to become invested in their plight.
What’s worse is a shockingly poor audio track which renders much of the speech unintelligible. Dialogue from background characters often dominates the soundtrack, making it difficult to hear the main conversation. Likewise, a strange sound mixing choice leaves noticeable gaps between spoken lines as if whoever edited it forgot to fill the silences. It’s all very unnatural sounding and hard to ignore once spotted.
Eventually, with only a few minutes remaining, the horror happenings begin and the scares are equally as disappointing as the rest of the feature’s performance. While the ghost makes an admittedly entertaining introduction with some punchy moments of gore to follow, a complete absence of build-up combined with the rushed nature of the encounter means viewers will have checked-out long before the friends begin to get picked off.
The Resort is released digitally on demand on 30th April 2021.
Watch the trailer for The Resort here: