Director: Ti West
Starring: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy and Kelly McGillis
Innkeepers, The (2011)
The Yankee Pedlar Inn has a dodgy past and legend has it that the ghost of once adorable cuddle-bunny and now angry white-eyed wench, Madeline O’Malley, haunts the place. O’Malley was a bride to be whose lover left her hanging like a pair of elephant testes in mating season. Because this made her, like, super sad, O’Malley offed herself and has been walking the hallways wearing emo makeup and just generally bringing down the mood. Now The Yankee Pedlar is going to shut down for good (I know, aaaahw, right?) and we join the two last remaining staff members as they look after the mostly empty Inn until the owners return from vacation.
The Innkeepers is directed by Ti West, who has made quite a name for himself in horror circles, at least as far as his capacity to polarize horror fans goes. Some love everything he touches; some feel that his films are dull and slower than a cerebrally challenged sloth race on ice. Mr West has brought us The Roost, Cabin Fever 2 and House of the Devil; the last being particularly well received. Like his other movies The Innkeepers relies heavily on atmosphere and is a slow burning, tension laden film with the occasional jump scare to keep you on your toes. As the Inn keepers we have Sara Paxton playing goofy-yet-sexy-girl-next-door Claire and Pat Healy as nerdy-supernatural-enthusiast Luke.
As far as haunted building type movies go The Innkeepers is one of the finest films I have ever seen. It is a slow burn with a wicked punch and it is creepier than that one eyed whore with the deep voice you always avoid on your way back from the “massage” parlour. The movie isn’t without its faults and near the end I thought they showed a bit too much, but the images you do see make an impact and ingrain themselves in your head. It relies heavily on the viewer’s imagination to add to the fright factor instead of dumping buckets of blood all over the actors, and having CGI monsters jumping round every other corner. Ti West clearly intended to give us an old fashioned ghost story, and he did so very competently.
Strong performances from the cast help the intensity of the movie and the cinematography is shot in such a way that parts of the screen often aren’t visible, creating a sense of anticipation. The Innkeepers doesn’t try to be serious the entire time and lighthearted banter and pranks between the two leads often diffuse the tension a little before it starts building again. I recommend The Innkeepers to anybody who enjoys slow burning supernatural horror with emphasis on atmosphere and imagination rather than blood and computer animation. If you’re after a faced paced action horror with gore everywhere steer clear. Fans of films like Session 9, Insidious or Fragile should enjoy this movie, though those movies all have different pacing and levels of seriousness. The Innkeepers gave me my first, possibly only, horror movie related nightmare. Sweet.
I give The Innkeepers 8 out of 10 piano notes… and a naked old dude posing eerily in this review.