BloodyFootSex’s review published on Letterboxd:
This was my most anticipated wide release for the rest of the year, and I wouldn't say it exceeded my expectations, but I'd say that it about met them.
I had a blast watching a large portion of this film. Just like everyone was saying, it is kind of like Drew Goddreds Hateful Eight, but done in his own style. See Goddard seems to be the master of scope in the films he's helmed. He makes a setting that initially felt smaller larger through different reveals. In cabin in the woods, it was through what was going on behind the curtain, and even know this film does evolve into a whole other being once you peel back the layers of the El Royale itself, it's through character development that this film has a more epic scope.
Even know I don't think this is as good as cabin in the woods, Goddard fleshes out every single character we see here, and makes them feel like people who exist, have flaws, and are trying to learn from their mistakes. All of the performances are very good (Minus I think Chris Hemsworth in reality), but the standouts are definitely Dakota Johnson as a sister with a heart of gold, but doesn't know how to show it, and Cynthia Erivo, who I think is truly great in her role. The dialogue was all fun and snappy, the reveals were nice and fun, and I liked how the second act really played with time and our perception of things.
Looking at the runtime going in though, I could have told you this movie is too long, and it totally is. you could have easily cut out a good 20-30 minutes from the first few scenes and the last few scenes. I also had some strong issues with the pacing, especially near the end. I actually think I lost interest in the film once Chris Hemsworth showed up and seemed to play his character from Vacation again without the accent (I swear I like the guy!). From there I kind of checked out, but that's about the last 25 minutes, and I was there completely invested for the other two hours I was sitting in the theater.
Overall do recommend it, as it is a true blast to watch, just not as strongly as I expected to.