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.

Mark Walker


21 Responses to “The Innkeepers * * *”

  1. Amazon keeps recommending this to me every time I buy a movie but I’m just not that keen on it, I think. I may rent it at some point based on your review, though.


    • Yeah, it’s alright Andy. I only watched it because Total Film magazine gave it 5stars. I always crave a good horror and one that gets 5stars from a respected film magazine deserves a look but I didn’t agree with their take on it. It’s good enough but a 3star rating was suffice I think.


  2. It wasn’t anything special, and definitely not as detailed as West’s last horror movie, but he definitely brings a lot more charm and wit to what is essentially, a simple horror film with a haunted house. Good review Mark.


  3. Creature with the Atom Brain Says:

    Great review, I loved the Paxton in this movie 🙂


  4. Awesome. I could’ve sworn Kelly McGillis had died of ovarian cancer, but apparently that hasn’t happened, haha. I won’t bother with trying to figure out what the hell made me think that. I might see this film, but if I do, it’ll only be because of her appearance. I loved her in Peter Weir’s Witness and in Tony Scott’s Top Gun. In fact, I hardly remember one bit of Top Gun other than her, haha, I couldn’t even tell you what it’s about unless you allowed me to use an Internet resource because I saw it when I was about six years old and haven’t seen it once since then.


    • Haha. No, Miss McGillis is alive and well. Be warned though, a lot of time has passed since Top Gun. Miss McGillis has not aged well. That’s if you compare her ageing to Tom Cruise (time doesn’t seem to touch him)


  5. Nice review, Mark 🙂


  6. I am going to be watching this soon, I was under the impression it wasn’t out yet, have I missed something, will read your review properly when I have seen it


    • It’s not out till June 9th I think but I have a friend who got hold of a little early screener. It’s okay, but I was expecting more as Total Film gave it 5 stars.


      • Lucky you. They have done that a lot lately, they’re normally spot on.


      • Lucky you. They have done that a lot lately, they’re normally spot on. if i were to read your review would it spoil anything?


      • I try not to put spoilers in my reviews. I do comment on the ending of the film but not in detail, only on how it had me feeling. I think (hope) everybody would be okay to read it before seeing it.


  7. I’ve been wondering about this film. Solid review!


  8. My reaction to the film was nearly identical. It seems to be a hit with critics, but not with audiences. That’s probably due to the lack of true blood and guts horror. It’s better than average, but it still isn’t particularly innovative. The ending was a bit of a letdown.


    • Hello Mark, not seen you in a while. I totally agree. I don’t know why the critics praised this so highly. It’s decent but the ending was ridiculous. I felt a bit conned.


  9. as you know i have just reviewed it and in the interest of community i thought i would scan yours again, the main point of agreement being, it is no where near as good as it could have been and a wasted amount of time on a set up that failed to deliver. good review man.


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