Published on April 18th, 2012 | by dvdpinson0
The Innkeepers Available on Blu-ray/DVD April 24th
The blurb is difficult on this one because “The Innkeepers” is NOT a thrill-a-minute, roller coaster ride sort of a horror film. The movie takes its time to bring the creepy and by doing so accomplishes little things like developing characters you care about while letting the tension build to a fever pitch. Call it the Anti-“Saw”. While “The Innkeepers” does not bash you in the skull with constant gore it will get the adrenaline pumping and genuinely scare you. You know, like a Horror film is supposed to do.
This is the story of The Yankee Pedlar Inn, an expansive New England hotel that is about to close its doors after over a hundred years of service. This is the ancient house’s final weekend before the boards go up and there are only two remaining employees left to turn the sheets, Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy).
With only a handful of living guests to attend to, the pair have a lot of down time and spend it slowly roaming the halls trying to record proof that The Yankee Pedlar is haunted. Since the hotel will be demolished just a few days, the spirits are getting restless and begin to give the amateur ghost hunters plenty of evidence of their existence.
“The Innkeepers” works because the two stars give wonderful, lived-in performances that keep you watching. Paxton and Healy almost make you forget it’s a scary movie and give the film a natural sense of humor that can lull you into a false security. When the doors start to slam and the footsteps grow louder, you have someone to cheer for and that is a huge departure from the hollow stereotypes that usually populate these movies. Paxton gives an especially unique performance as the innocent and child-like Claire. Her work on other films like “Shark Nigh 3D” did not hint at her abilities. The girl has some acting chops.
I like to think of “The Innkeepers” as “The Shining’s” little baby sister. The two films share a common sensibility and tone while both feature many long shots coasting down eerie hallways. The Yankee Pedlar’s halls are much narrower than the Overlook’s which only heightens the claustrophobic sensation. I’m also pretty sure that Luke is staying in room 216, which I’m guessing is right across the hall from 217…
Of course this all makes perfect sense as “The Innkeepers” writer/director Ti West has made it very clear that his movies are supposed to be reminiscent of the classic horror films of the 70s and early 80s. It is pretty easy to say that “The Shining” was on the top of the List of Inspirado. West’s brand of lo-fi horror is very effective and the last twenty minutes of “The Innkeepers” had me fighting the urge to close my eyes to avoid the scares. The film is so against the grain, however, that the final few minutes left me wanting more. Sometimes being anti-formula sacrifices little things like having a good, tidy ending that wraps everything in a pretty package.