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The Cabin in the Woods director Drew Goddard’s second feature begins promisingly. In its better moments, this studio oddity is a tense thriller, at its worst, draggy and self-indulgent. Taking place at the tail end of the 60s, it places a group of strangers in a sleazy hotel that sits on the state line between California and Nevada, watching as they begin circling each other. Jeff Bridges is a priest; Jon Hamm a southern salesman; Dakota Johnson surly in sunglasses; the fabulous British stage actress Cynthia Erivo a jobbing soul singer.
Each, inevitably, has a secret. Lily-livered hotel clerk Miles (Lewis Pullman) advises that in California lies warmth, sunshine and a liquor licence, while Nevada holds the promise of “hope and opportunity”.
At two hours 20 minutes, the film is agonisingly long, eagerly cramming in subplots that touch on the Vietnam war, the Manson family, and Hoover’s FBI; these add period detail but feel like digressions. Indeed, Chris Hemsworth is introduced as a shirtless, snake-hipped riff on Charles Manson with just 40 minutes to go.
Source: The Guardian
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