The Innkeepers * * *
Director: Ti West
Screenplay: Ti West
Starring: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis, Alison Bartlett, Lena Dunham, George Riddle, Brenda Cooney.
Is it just a matter of getting older or are horror films no longer able to capture the imagination anymore? A lot of recent one’s have wisely went back to the premise of ghostly spectres haunting old houses and unsuspecting newcomers arriving to get the bejesus scared out of them. “The Woman In Black” is one, that tried and failed. This latest, from director Ti West, has a little more savvy and actually works reasonably well.
‘The Yankee Pedlar Inn’ is an old hotel that is plagued with stories of Madeline O’Malley; a ghostly woman that has roamed the hallways. On it’s last weekend before closing, two college dropout employees Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) decide to use a video camera and try to capture some evidence of the reported events. One of the last guests to check in is former actress Leanne Rease-Jones (Kelly McGillis), now specialising in the occult, who shares her knowledge of the hotel as things become increasingly sinister.
For a start, this has a bit of an independent feel to it. The characters are likeable and although some performances are stretched, it benefits from the actors being relatively unknown. Despite it’s indie feel though, it’s shot with complete confidence. As any good ghost story should, it builds slowly and allows the audience to identify with the characters. It also has the perfect setting; a vast, empty, haunted space – that is actually shot in the real Yankee Pedlar Inn – and makes great use of this location. It also helps to inject a bit of humour and two thirds of the movie has it’s tongue stuck firmly in it’s cheek without compromising the overall intention; scares. When the final act kicks into gear and the ghost is finally revealed, it’s get’s very interesting and some genuine jumpy moments occur. However, the major problem that plagues this, is that it sets itself up for a big reveal and then doesn’t deliver. For a film that prides itself in it’s slow build-up and attention to detail, the resolution seems rushed, unexplored and unexplained.
It’s a competent effort that benefits from great production design and an eager director but it would have been so much better, if a little more care had been put into the script.