The Innkeepers (2011)
Directed By: Ti West (The House of the Devil)
Where to get it: Dark Sky Films
Ti West is probably one of the most creative new horror directors out there. I’d take his work over Adam Green any day of the week, but that’s not to say he is without flaw. Ti’s movies do have a very slow-ish pace from time to time and The Innkeepers didn’t avoid that characteristic. But this is also a movie that give us some jumps, some chills, and some really cool acting from our two leads, Sara Paxton (Wooohoo!) and Pat Healy. Now this films makes it’s way to DVD and Blu-ray from Dark Sky Films on April 24th! But we get to take a look at it now.
During the final days at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, two employees determined to reveal the hotel’s haunted past begin to experience disturbing events as old guests check in for a stay. Sara Paxton and Pat Healy play the roles of our “innkeepers”, Claire and Luke in this dark and witty film from director, Ti West. This it Ti’s follow up to The House of the Devil. And in a lot of ways it’s like House of the Devil, only it brings over the negatives more than the positives.
I don’t want anyone to take anything I say in this review as Ti West bashing. I actually love far more Ti West films than I dislike. Taking The Innkeepers out of the equation, the only Ti West film I didn’t like was Cabin Fever 2 and even Ti West hates Cabin Fever 2. Ti is a very good writer, he can take the boring story of a haunted estate and turn it into something interesting and rest a sure there’s a lot about The Innkeepers that is interesting. The man also has the ability to make characters. He does not give us boring characters in his movies and the characters of Claire and Luke here prove that. As a matter of fact, Sara Paxton turns in her best performance yet. The dialogue is great as well. So then why is it this film falls under the banner of just average? Well, for a number of reasons.
The biggest fault I’ve ever found in a Ti West film is that his movies drag. The characters are fun and make for some cool scenes, but you need them to be actually doing something. And more times than not in his films, until you get to the final twenty or so minutes, they aren’t doing much that amounts to any significant value. Things just go at way too slow a pace and if the characters weren’t so well written this movie could have turned into a disaster. When you are about forty five minutes into a horror movie and nothing but spooky sounds and one or two random ghost shots have happened, you have a problem that needs to be corrected. The film is shot really well, looks creepy, and all about the overall presentation as far the look is concerned looks awesome. But it drags and it also has another issue.
For Ti West being as smart of a writer as he is, the characters here do some really dumb things in the heat of the moment. You spend the whole film making these people look and sound different and not typical, yet you make them end up making the same old and tired mistakes every cookie-cutter character does in every other horror film? It’s just disappointing and the movie, while not by any means horrible, is a bit disappointing as well. I also didn’t care much for the ending. I found it to be a little too abrupt and ambiguous. Sometimes that sorta thing works and other times it doesn’t. Based on how the film is going until you get to that point, it just doesn’t work. At the end of the day, The Innkeepers has a couple of great performances from Sara Paxton and Pat Healy. It also has a spooky moment here and there, along with some nice dialogue. But that’s sadly just about it. The rest is the same old same old with a new coat of paint placed over it.
Still not a big fan of the film’s ending, but I suppose thinking about it a bit more that anything else would have been a little too typical. The Blu-ray it’s self does look really good, and it should since it’s a new film. It is a bit of a throwback, but the 35mm works good. The film’s sound is also just about perfect. As for special features, you get two commentary tracks and some behind the scenes stuff, but that’s about it.
The Rating (6.5/10)
Be sure to also check out Shannon’s Ti West Double Feature also featuring The Innkeepers