FILM REVIEW: The Innkeepers (2011)

The Innkeepers is funny...scary...and tense. It is smart filmmaking filled with great performances.

It's no mystery 'round these parts that we're HUGE Ti West fans. While we were a little mixed about the ending, The House of the Devil  was an amazing example of what a true filmmaker is capable of creating with a minuscule budget and a genuine appreciation for early 80's horror. It is a film oozing with deep atmospheric tension and amazing performances by most of the actors. So, it goes without saying that our anticipation for The Innkeepers  reached a feverish intensity until it was finally made available via VOD! it any good?

As far as continuing what West set out to do with The House of the Devil......yes. The Innkeepers has moments of creepy horror and excruciating tension.There are scenes that you might see coming that will still scare you silly. But the film does much more than just creep you out. It entertains on so many levels thanks to great performances and wonderful dialogue. It's an all around great addition to West's horror film resume.

The story involves a very old hotel named the Yankee Pedlar Inn, which is actually a real hotel in Torrington, Connecticut, on its final weekend of business before closing its doors for good. Two employees are tasked with running the hotel in its final days with only a few guests checking in for the weekend. The Yankee Pedler is said to have a long history of unexplained supernatural hauntings and both Luke and Claire, the hotel's employees, vow to capture something on their recording devices to promote Luke's website devoted to the paranormal side of the Yankee Pedlar.

Sara Paxton plays Claire and she is absolutely awesome in the role. The girl has impeccable comedic timing and an uncanny knack for character acting. The Innkeepers is worth a look just for Paxton's performance alone. All the little gestures and habitual ticks that create Claire are just as oddly funny as the dialogue that she speaks. Paxton is definitely one to watch in the genre. Just don't watch Shark Night.

Pat Healy is a perfect match for Paxton in his character of Luke. The guy's casual delivery for most of his lines is some of the funniest things in the film. Healy has that natural ability to create humor without ever smiling. In fact the chemistry between Luke and Claire is some of the best stuff in the film. There are moments of genuine sweetness cloaked in awkward humor that really alleviates the scary in the film.

Speaking of the scary. That's pretty much our only complaint of the film. The Innkeepers is mainly a lovable story of workplace friendship trapped in a haunted house exhibiting scant moments of actual fear. There are some truly harrowing jump scares expertly created by the tension in the film. However, it kinda all feels like the horror was an afterthought. The Yankee Pedlar isn't particularly scary. It's a big hotel with vast brightly lit spaces that don't really do anything to add to the tension. It is only when the characters run down into the basement when you feel the dark claustrophobia that you're supposed to feel in films like this. The Overlook Hotel from The Shining was much scarier because of everything that helped establish its overall feel. The carpet, the wallpaper, the all combined to make you feel like the Overlook was almost alive. Watching your every move.

Still...that's no reason to dismiss this as any kind of bad any way. The Innkeepers  is a wonderful little film that does entertain in many ways. The look of the film is nothing short of great and the score suits the film perfectly. Most of the performances are truly memorable...except for Kelly McGillis' Leanne. She was just kinda there. The little twist was nice and the apparitions were pretty creepy. We just felt like we were on edge through most of the film with little payoffs here and there. Ti West is an amazing filmmaker who knows how to scare the fuck out of his audience. We hope that one day he delivers a truly horrifying experience.

The Innkeepers will be available on VOD up until its February release in selected theaters across the country. Do try to catch the film when it becomes available to you. It's a solid little film that will tease the haunted house lover in you.

Thanks for reading!