I’ve long been a fan of Drew Goddard’s work, from his days as a writer on Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Lost to the ingenious Cabin in the Woods. So when his follow-up to one of the best horror films of the past 20 years landed, a Tarantino-esque ensemble of bad souls all stuck together at a crumbling hotel up in the California mountains starring the likes of Jeff Bridges, Jon Hamm, and Chris Hemsworth, I could not have been more excited.
The film brings together a lot of really fun ingredients but unfortunately doesn’t quite know what to do with them. Clocking in at over 140 minutes, the story moves slowly for long stretches and never manages to build much momentum until the final 30 minutes. Goddard never quite ends up subverting Tarantino tropes so much as he emulates them while the hotel itself, billed as its own unique character, never lives up to that billing. Bad Times ends up feeling too conventional and familiar though it does provide a nice showcase for its actors, particularly Jeff Bridges and Cynthia Erivo, but the ensemble never comes together as a whole in a satisfying way. Grade: C+