The Innkeepers

The Yankee Pedlar Inn has been welcoming guests for over a hundred years. The Connecticut hotel is the stuff of legend when bride Madeline O’Malley supposedly hung herself in the 1800s when her husband abandoned her on their honeymoon. However the owners have decided now is the time to close. Not many have been stopping by lately. Two employees have stayed on to see the inn through its last days. As ghost hunting enthusiasts they hope to exploit the hotel’s supernatural history by capturing evidence of paranormal phenomena on their audio equipment. Perhaps this will spark interest in keeping the lodge’s doors open.

Director Ti West created an indie stir in 2009 with The House of the Devil. An up-and-coming American director, he now returns with this gradually building charmer that relies on gently developing events. Yes the account is deliberately slow – it feels like real life.  Modern horror devotees will no doubt have little patience for the snail’s pace. But this is a cut above the trashy blood and guts flicks that dot the cinematic landscape.

The actors make this haunted house film notable. Pat Healy and Sara Paxton give compelling performances as Luke and Claire.  Both are engaging slacker personalities.  Healy is sardonic and skeptical. Paxton is quirky and likeable.  The two innkeepers form a charismatic pair that we actually enjoy watching. Paxton is especially winning. She was my favorite part about the whole experience.  Also on hand is 80s phenom Kelly McGillis as a former actress/psychic. The moments of humor are surprisingly effective. Luke takes advantage of Claire’s already jumpy personality several times and the results are pretty funny. Claire’s interactions with McGillis’ medium are rather amusing too. The historical hotel is the main focus and West mines terror from the unknown forces that intrigue. The story coasts on charm. The plot is pretty slight and it drifts to a dependable conclusion. Thank goodness for our two leads. They make these situations better than average.

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17 Responses to “The Innkeepers”

  1. I just watched this like two days ago. I loved it, except for the ending. Well, at least a specific part of the ending. Once she was at the basement stairs, etc., it kind of lost me. But I’m a big fan overall. I own House of the Devil, and I’ll get around to Cabin Fever 2 eventually.

  2. Not as good as Ti West’s flick before this, but it still had a chilly vibe and I think I just loved the overall setting itself. Still, was a bit scary especially towards the end when things started getting a little tense. Good review Mark.

    • Every single review I read makes mention that The House of the Devil was better. Guess what the latest addition to my ever growing Netflix queue is going to be?

  3. atothewr Says:

    I enjoyed this one, but I do feel like there was a little something missing. It seemed like it picked up around the 45 minute mark. I also remember getting freaked out a couple of times towards the end. Creepy stuff. Good review.

    • There are moments of suspense plus the added bits of humor actually made me laugh. That’s an entertaining, though not profound, combination.

  4. You seem to be writing reviews a lot more often now. Great review, as usual. I’m not too sure about this film, though. I like some horror movies, but I haven’t really heard much praise for this one. Also, I mentioned on Mark Walker’s review that I could’ve sworn Kelly McGillis had died of ovarian cancer or something…yeah, I don’t know what led me to think that. Clearly, she’s alive. 🙂

  5. Very good review as always, Mark!

  6. Not much to say about this. It wasn’t your typical scary movie. It was a fun time leading up to the scares. The actors were very likable.

  7. sanclementejedi Says:

    Just watched this last night with the misses. Sort of gave me a mumblecore vibe when I was watching it. Not a great film but certainly had a few scares.

  8. I think I’ll be watching this one today, as well as a few others.

  9. You were far too generous to this movie.

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