When a young group of friends decide to investigate an abandoned holiday resort with a murky past, they soon realise that some things don’t want to be found in Taylor Chien’s The Resort.
Heading to Hawaii to investigate reports of a haunting at an abandoned resort in hopes of finding the infamous Half-Faced Girl, when the group arrive, they soon learn they may have bitten off more than they can chew…
Directed, written, and produced by Taylor Chien (pictured above), the film stars Bianca Haase (Hot Tub Time Machine 2), Brock O’Hurn (Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween), Michael Vlamis (Roswell, New Mexico), and Michelle Randolph (5 Years Apart).
We sat down with Taylor to discuss finding the perfect location with reports of real hauntings…
When did you first get the idea for The Resort?
It all came down to us being in Hawaii on a vacation. We were walking by the property, and we saw it was fully abandoned. All the greenery was overgrown and dead. It just looked really creepy. Some of the rooms had broken windows, with sheets hanging out flying in the wind. It was crazy looking.
So I asked Will Meldman, the executive producer: “Hey, we should film a movie here because this is a really cool place…” He had some connections with the property, so we were able to take a little tour. We were walking through this incredible location and I said, “somebody has to film a movie here”, and then we’re like ‘okay well if someone’s gonna do it, maybe we should do it!’
So it all came from the location itself because it’s just so incredible and they were taking it down. It is now demolished, so it’s no longer there, so we had to move quickly!
Was the film always going to be a horror film?
[The location] was so creepy, it had to be a horror. Plus, when we were taking the walkthrough, all of the people that used to work there and who still manage the property said “yeah weird things would happen [here]”.
There are hauntings in certain rooms, weird things would happen in the rooms and the bellman would stop coming up to get the bags and things like that. That stuff was so convincing, it had to be a horror film.
Is the folk tale in the movie about The Half Faced girl based on a real story?
Yeah all of it is based on actual things we did some research on. I wanted it to be as real as possible. We obviously had to manipulate certain things to make it work for the story but mostly everything is inspired by some sort of true story that we’ve heard and did research on.
What was it like filming The Resort in Hawaii?
I love Hawaii. I’ve always wanted to film a movie in Hawaii, [but being] from Los Angeles, I never really appreciated how easy it is to be in a city where there are so many people for each position. You can get help and equipment anywhere! When you travel you don’t have access like that, so if you’re going to an island you have to bring pretty much everything.
But there are people in Hawaii that were incredible (the local crew of course, we tried to hire as many as we could) and it was helpful for us because we didn’t have to fly anybody out for at least that portion of it.
It was a challenge in the sense that things cost more money. When you have a travel film you have to spend money on things like housing and all that but you’re also being compensated for the location you’re in. So I guess it all depends on how you look at it.
Did you face any particular challenges when shooting the movie?
Everything always gets crazy. Noise and sound have always been the issue of any movie set or wherever you go, it’s like… ‘why are they doing construction next door?’ [haha]
I remember when we first showed up we were still changing up the story as we were filming, so that was a challenge because the original movie had a whole different ending but that’s just how it is. You try to adapt quickly. Filming a movie is basically problem-solving!
The ending is pretty ambiguous, was that always your intention?
It’s funny because the original ending left you thinking like ‘wait, what?’ and then it got changed and the second alternative ending (which is how it ends now) is basically still the same way where it makes you think. There are two ways to look at it but I think everyone has to figure it out for themselves and see what they think. It’d be interesting to see what everyone thinks…
You wrote, produced and directed The Resort, what was it like wearing so many different hats for the movie?
Anytime I do a project, the number one goal is ‘let’s do it for fun’. I don’t care if people love it or hate it. If they love it, that’s icing on the cake but that’s not why I’m there to make it.
So it came down to basically ‘let’s get this movie made’. It’s so difficult [to get a movie made] because of all the moving parts, and all the people that have to come together to make things work. Everything is just insane! It really is crazy. So wearing a bunch of different hats didn’t bother me, it’s just that I have one goal and that goal is to make this happen. Regardless of the outcome, of how people decide whether it’s good or bad, to me, that doesn’t matter. We had a great time making it and it was incredible.
I think that next time, I’m either going to go bigger with the budget ask, so I don’t have to wear so many hats, or I’m going to go the complete opposite and go almost no budget, and that way there’s less to have to worry about!
What would you like audiences to take away from The Resort?
Just have fun. Don’t take it too seriously, don’t try to nitpick things. We had an amazing time making it, the actors were incredible, the team was honestly a dream team. Everybody was. I wish I could name everybody (I have the worst memory ever, that’s why I’m not an actor haha), but we had a great time pulling this off and I’m excited for everybody’s future after this.