1 hour 41 minutes
Rated R (Some Bloody Images and Language)
Directed by Ti West
Starring Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, and Kelly McGillis
2.5 out of 4 stars
ON DVD NOW.
Anybody heard of Ti West? He’s a low-budget indie horror director who’s starting to make more movies over the years. He controls all his movies, writing, directing, and editing them at once (except for Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, which went right to DVD and is so freakin’ disgusting I actually gagged while watching it). He’s a natural at creating creepy, realistic atmospheres in his movies. In 2009 he came out with The House of the Devil, a 70s vibey type of movie where a college girl gets a job babysitting a creepy guy’s sick wife on a solar eclipse night where it turns out that him and his wife are actually Satanists trapping her to use her in a ritual. The problem I’m seeing with West though is that not much happens in his movies. All he seems to care about is dragging everything out to a huge climax and then SUDDENLY! The movie ends. Then you’re left going “Oh come on! That’s it!” The House of the Dead has a very creepy atmosphere up until its climax, so basically for the first hour and 15 minutes we just watch absolutely nothing happen. This is fine, but it’s not enough. I want more. Sadly this is also what happens in his latest movie, The Innkeepers.
This is a ghost movie about two employees, Claire (a quirky Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy), working at an old hotel called the Yankee Pedlar Inn. The place is about to close down and is supposedly haunted. The two are basically living in the place and live their nights ghost hunting the place, looking for Madeline O’Malley, the ghost who’s supposed to haunt the hotel. In the 1800s her husband left her on their honeymoon so she came to the hotel and hung herself (and her body was found in the basement =O). I was obviously very excited to watch The Innkeepers because I too ghost hunt all the time. Last May I went on a ghost hunt to Fort Mifflin in Philadelphia, which was used as a fort to fend off the British in the Revolutionary War. I’m pretty sure I actually saw a ghost. I was in what used to be the dungeon of the fort and could have sworn I saw a man crawling under one of the beds. When I shined my light there was nobody there. The Innkeepers is good in that it doesn’t overdo its scenes when Claire and Luke are ghost hunting. Many times nothing happens. When stuff slowly starts to happen it’s all nicely well-done (for example, Claire walks to a piano and one of the keys is pressed down by an invisible hand). The climax isn’t believable, of course, but it’s quite frightening.
Unfortunately, though, I can’t quite recommend the movie. It’s got a few creepy moments and succeeds at having a not-too-over-the-top creepy atmosphere, except it just feels so anticlimactic. There’s nothing wrong with trying to devote more time to the characters and atmosphere, but come on. Give us at least a few more REAL scares and shocks! You can do it! The Paranormal Activity movies do it and they rock. It’s fun watching West have fun with all the haunted house genre conventions; the creepy basement, the creepy old guy that comes to stay at the hotel, the piano that plays by itself. He’s not a bad horror director but he just needs to put more thrills in his movies.