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  1. Published on: 26/10/2018 08:45 PMReported by: Film Critic
    Plot: Several strangers with troubled pasts meet by chance at a mysterious by-state hotel and all of their dark secrets are uncovered over one chaotic night.

    It's been far too long since Drew Goddard's directorial debut in 2012 with the modern horror-comedy classic The Cabin In The Woods. Now six years later, we have finally another installment to add to his catalogue.

    On paper, it sounded intriguing, the cast looked pretty impressive and varied and the buzz was pretty solid.

    It opens up as you might expect if you have seen the trailers. We get introduced to the characters and their surroundings nice and early.

    Once that's done, then as the main story gradually gets more mysterious and dark, it breaks off at times to let us know more about the characters various back stories. Whilst that did lose the momentum of the film on numerous occasions, the content remainded intriguing.

    There are some nice twists and developments along the way with some tense and gripping set-pieces. The finale could well be the films strongest point and we see every character pretty well fleshed out by the end of it.

    The performances were all pretty good and there were plenty of characters to learn about. The big stand-out was probably Cynthia Erivo. That was mainly due to her being relatively unknown in the movie world and so you naturally want to know more about her. Also, her character had many memorable moments. Erivo is certainly a potential star in the making.

    Her chemistry with Jeff Bridges was a particular highlight, and Bridges himself gave one of his best recent performances.

    Jon Hamm's character gave us some nice twists in the first half of the film and Chris Hemsworth certainly stole the show in the final act.

    I was really happy to see Dakota Johnson do something that wasn't Fifty Shades. Her character was more of a femme fatale, which was nice to see for a change as it's a type of character that is a rare breed these days. I felt she did a good job with this and I was glad she proved to us that she can play characters that we don't naturally associate her with.

    The concept is something that we probably see once every couple of years and it's always a type of story that I'm up for watching if its in the right hands. The premise felt like Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians. But the style of it was closer to that of Quentin Tarantino. However, the style of writing and story-telling was not up to those high standards. However, there was still plenty to enjoy here.

    There is a fair amount of mystery and some nice twists that were well executed. It goes down places in its themes that I was not expecting. That's probably down to the way it was marketed.

    There are a lot of dialogue-driven scenes that are quite magnetic and the strong performances make you invested in almost every character on screen.

    The general production design was also a big strength of the film. It's gorgeous to look at and certainly fitted that late 60's setting.

    I did have a couple of notable problems with it. It's certainly did not need to be 2hrs 20mins. There were several scenes that could have easily been cut down or needed swifter editing.

    Also, a minor negative was that it was tough to root for the characters as none of them have that natural protagonist label tagged onto them.

    I could be cruel and say that there better films similar to this out there. But even with those problems, I felt this to be a very enjoyable thriller that is very well constructed and almost felt old-school in its execution. The characters all had their moments on screen and made solid use of it. I think the duration and pacing might lose some people. But I think if you're happy to be at the cinema for that long, then I think you would have a pretty good viewing experience.

    Rating: 8/10
     

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