The Innkeepers (2011)
Starring: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis
Writer/Director/Editor: Ti West
The Yankee Pedlar Inn has been around for 100 years, and is finally closing down. This place is known to be haunted as shit, and the two remaining employees -Claire and Luke- are determined to prove it. During the last few days of operation, a few oddball guests check in, and the two employees begin experiencing some weirdness during their offbeat ghost hunting endeavors.
I caught The Innkeepers this past Friday, thanks to Playstation and VOD. I like Ti West quite a bit, but really hadn't kept up during the production of this movie or what the inspiration for it was. Apparently, the Yankee Pedlar Inn is known to be haunted. West and the production crew of The House of the Devil experienced some shit while staying there during filming, and I guess the script of this film is the result. I Googled this, and all kinds of stuff came up. This page is an article dated 2007, and one of the paranormal researchers has the same first name as the male employee in the film. I always love "real" haunting stuff; I don't always necessarily believe people with these kinds of stories, but it usually makes things more interesting.
I'll probably come off like I hated this film, but I didn't. I enjoyed it. I'm just disappointed because I expected to enjoy it much more. I'd say about the first hour of The Innkeepers is gold. The characters are quickly loveable, the performances are great, the set is gorgeous, the camera work is really attention grabbing, and the sound effects are damn brilliant. I didn't start to grow disappointment until the film was supposed to be scary. You know, I can't recall the last time I was really scared by a film. I'm not talking about a movie that produces a bunch of quick jump scares enhanced by loud and obnoxious shrieky violins; I'm talking about watching a movie that scares the fucking piss out of you and you can't stop thinking about it. Nah, hasn't happened in a long time. Though, there are films that have had me creeped out enough to continue thinking about them. Being creeped out and being scared seem like different shit to me. The Innkeepers didn't even really creep me out. The right mood is there, but the stuff that is supposed to unease you is basically just a bunch of “oh” moments. It all indeed looks cool, just not scary or creepy.
I'll definitely defend the look of The Innkeepers; it's beautiful from the beginning. ****slight spoilers→Even the way the title sequence pours itself onto the screen over-top various interior and exterior pictures of the Yankee Pedlar.←slight spoilers**** It gave me that “oh shit, impending doom” feeling. There's all kinds of great camera work throughout, ****slight spoilers→particularly shots that glide across the Inn floor and travel into other rooms. I also dig the staircase shots captured in the film←slight spoilers****.
My absolute favorite ingredient of The Innkeepers is the comedic chemistry between the two leads, Sara Paxton and Pat Healy, as Claire and Luke- the Inn employees. They are the magic of this film over anything else. Luke is the older nerdy type, while Claire is an awkward cutie. The ways these characters keep themselves entertained at the dying Yankee Pedlar is freakin' hilarious and cool. Paxton puts all kinds of quirkiness into her persona. She's easy to cling onto basically from first glance. The same really goes for Pat Healy as Luke. At times, for me at least, it kinda felt like watching Clerks if it were set in a haunted Inn. Kelly McGillis was pretty disappointing, not nearly up to par with her performance in Stake Land. She plays one of the check-in guests at the Inn. She doesn't start off bad, quite the opposite. ****slight spoilers→But once more is learned about her character, I feel it takes the movie from being genuinely funny to unintentionally funny. In other words, I don't think McGillis pulled that shit off too well←slight spoilers****. George Riddle, on the other hand, is excellent as one of the other Inn guests.
Like an abundance of ghosty type films, The Innkeepers keeps the gore to a minimum. Not that kind of film, so no complaints there. The complaint, once again, is that it just wasn't that creepy.
Jeff Grace's film score is a high point. He gives the true oldschool feel of a haunted horror flick. It's great, as is the use of sound effects. ****slight spoiler→There's some really creative shit going on for when a character's hearing is impaired for one reason or the other←slight spoiler****.
Would I watch The Innkeepers again? Hell yes I would. It has plenty of things going for it to be a likable film. But I wanted to love it, not like it. I wanted this shit to freak me the fuck out and stick with me for days. The House of the Devil did that well. This could be one of those movies that I learn to enjoy more over time. We shall see.