Film Review: The Innkeepers (2011)

The Innkeepers (2011)
Director: Ti West
Writer: Ti West
Cast: Sara Paxton, Pat Healey, Kelly McGillis

The Yankee Pedlar Inn is very close to closing its doors for business, but until then, Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healey) must look after the old place and a few of the remaining guests they have. Claire and Luke are both interested in hauntings and the paranormal, especially in the hauntings of a supposed ghost staying at the hotel they work at. Claire in particular tries to cure her boredom working at the Yankee Pedlar by doing some of her own investigating.

Things start off slow…very slow. It seems that is the style director Ti West goes for in most of his films, and for the most part, I have enjoyed all of the ones I’ve watched. The Innkeepers spends a lot of time setting things up – perhaps for too long, in my opinion. The main characters keep things light at first, and humour is used a bit. Sara Paxton as the main protagonist Claire, has a certain charisma and nervous energy about her that keep things somewhat interesting, but unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing for her partner in crime Luke – who plays the stereotypical, hipster, nerd/geek type.

Some of the dialogue tries to be too witty for it’s own good for parts where it really wasn’t necessary. Claire and Luke’s interactions were kind of entertaining for a fleeting moment but wore off quickly on me as I was watching. Again, too much time was spent where it probably wasn’t really needed.

The setting is decent enough, although The Yankee Pedlar Inn is far from being the creepiest place I’ve ever seen in a horror film. The music and score for this film is excellent – even if at times it sounds very familiar to previous films in this genre. Overall, the audio aspect was well done.

Some of the special effects and make-up were terrific but not enough of it was shown off! The little rare bits of the film I actually found somewhat creepy were excellently executed – which is why I feel much more could have been done to make this a better movie. The ghosts you end up seeing are cool looking indeed.

As with some of the other stuff Ti West has done, the final moments of the film were worth the payoff of the patience needed to get through the rest of the film – however, with The Innkeepers the payoff is nowhere near as big or as good as in a movie like Ti West’s awesome, The House of the Devil (2009). Much isn’t shown and you are left with using your imagination for the final sequence. I will say that the final outcome in this movie did surprise me quite a bit in a pleasant way. Most of the film was slow paced and light hearted/unscary for the most part, but the ending left things off on a serious down note, and for this I give it some kudos.

All in all The Innkeepers is not the most frightening or even most entertaining ghost film you will ever see, but it does have some redeeming qualities about it which might be worth checking out if you can exercise some patience.

-JP

 

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About jpthorn

If you would like to submit books or films for review, e-mail me at thehorrorbooth@gmail.com
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8 Responses to Film Review: The Innkeepers (2011)

  1. I don’t know why I haven’t ordered this from Netflix yet, because I’m all about a ghost story. When you said, “Much isn’t shown and you are left with using your imagination for the final sequence,” did you think the part about having to use your imagination was a deliberate use of ambiguity or bad screenwriting/laziness?

  2. Good review. I still need to snap this up. I have had Lemora out for like 5 months now….need to turn it in.

  3. theipc says:

    Wonderful! Finally someone who doesn’t just sit around bad mouthing T West. House of the Devil was awesome (and so was this but less so). Thank you!

  4. Hunter says:

    Thank you for reviewing The Innkeepers, JP! I went online and rented this movie before leaving my office at DISH. It had downloaded to my Hopper DVR by the time I walked in the door and it was ready to watch. I thought it was a solid horror film. The atmosphere was genuinely creepy, and I like that they didn’t rely on CGI to anchor the film. It wasn’t the best horror movie I have ever seen, but it is certainly worth watching.

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