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'Bad Times at the El Royale': I Need To Know What's Going On Here

By Kate Hudson | Film | September 5, 2018 |

By Kate Hudson | Film | September 5, 2018 |


Let’s get this out of the way: I’m going soft. Perhaps it’s the orcs who’ve stormed the White House like it’s Osgiliath; the fact I’m over 30 and have experienced more in life; or even that it’s Wednesday; but I no longer have the heart (or stomach) for violence, gore, or scary things in general. So you can imagine my frustration with Bad Times at the El Royale.

This movie appears to have everything I would like:

Jeff Bridges? Check.
Amazing cover of “This Old Heart of Mine”? Check.
A Shirtless Chris? Check.
Good ’60s décor and set? Check.
HAMM! Check.

Except for one thing:
100% chance of someone getting violently murdered out of the blue? Check and mate.

What’s a gal to do?


Check Wikipedia to read an entire plot synopsis, and then watch it once it’s streaming with all the lights on, and the mute button handy. Duh.

There are people who obsessively avoid spoilers…I am not one of them.


I have been known to read the last page of a book before I even start it. Is there a dog, cat, or animal of any kind in a movie/show/book? You had better believe I’m looking up whether or not they make it to the end. You know those people who scoured Reddit to see who dies in Infinity War before it was released? Guilty as charged. I even stream Game of Thrones 20 mins after it becomes available, so I can simultaneously read live feeds online to know what’s about to happen to prepare myself.

I’m not one of those smug jerkfaces who lords it over you that I know what’s going to happen and threatens to tell you. Those people suck. No one likes them. I need spoilers so I can enjoy the same stuff everyone does, and make sure I don’t accidentally end up watching A Serbian Film, because it has a nice cover or something. (I have read the plot for that movie. Yikes.)

For spoiler-phobes, your kind simply cannot fathom those of us who are not averse. It doesn’t affect my enjoyment one bit knowing what’s going to happen, in fact, it enhances it. I’m no longer anxious that someone is going to die at any moment, or the bad guy will jump out unexpectedly. I’m prepared. I know when to close my eyes, and when to employ the mute button. (The mute button is by far the most useful tool in the box, it makes a movie or show instantly less scary, and you get to avoid the crunching sound usually associated with onscreen death.)

I used to date a guy who loved horror movies of all kind. He once came over to my place and showed me this, knowing how I felt.


We did not date for much longer after that.

Yes, sometimes you should suck it up because someone else’s enjoyment should override your discomfort; but as I said at the beginning, the older I get, the more I can’t stomach unhappy things. I have a visceral reaction that’s just not pleasant. That’s why I’m torn on Bad Times at the El Royale, because it looks good for the aforementioned reasons. I really wish someone would update its Wikipedia page so I can tell if it’s something I could even attempt to watch, or a hard pass like The Quiet Place was. (Silence weaponized, jump scares, and unbearable tension?)


Don’t worry, I won’t share once I find out what happens. No spoilers (for you) For me? All the spoilers, please.

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Kate is a staff contributor. You can follow her on Twitter.

Header Image Source: 20th Century Fox