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This movie had a lot of potential with an interesting hook and great
location but failed to deliver all around.
A horror movie relies on tension and atmosphere to build fear. This movie takes a very long and tedious time establishing characterization instead of mood. Unfortunately, the two main characters and in fact all the characters in the very small cast are so two-dimensional and stereotypical that all that time was thoroughly wasted. To add insult to injury, there is even a cheap jump scene at the beginning that breaks what little mood is established by the opening credits and pans of the set. When the movie finally reaches its climax, it still is not scary or horrific. It just falls flat. The ending was unsatisfying as well with no real resolution or twist.
It's just good enough to keep you watching and waiting for something to happen, but it never does.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If something had actually happened. for a movie of 1 hour and 35
minutes, there's surprisingly little in the way of story or plot. Now,
at first I was actually excited, as I think most good horror movies are
masters of building up the anticipation - 30 to 45 minutes of build up
isn't inappropriate, but this movie felt like it was straight up 1
hours and 35 minutes of build up.
It almost felt like they had too much time to show the characters (pranking and having fun with each other, mostly, which became old real quick) and their relationships and too little time to resolve the ghost plot. It had the makings of a (bit cliché, but hey) storyline that, with careful execution, could have made for a nice horror flick with more subtle horror compared to all the splatters that are out these days. Instead, we got almost nothing.
This movie left me with so many questions and just kind of a "huh?" feeling - I like when everything isn't answered or when things aren't stated directly on screen - when you have to think a little bit - but this is seriously taking it way, way, WAY too far.
Instead of feeling like the movie set up some expectations and rules and then satisfied these, it just felt...
Inadequate. Very, very inadequate. And confused, and kinda hollow. Terrible disappointment.
I don't usually write reviews but after watching this film and then
looking at the latest reviews posted on here i felt compelled to give
this a serious review.
If you like Slasher movies where girls who fall down a lot are being chased by a maniac with a weapon. THIS FILM IS NOT FOR YOU.
If you like Zombie movies with lots of blood and gore. THIS FILM IS NOT FOR YOU.
If you've got the attention span of a goldfish and like to chat to your mates all the way through a movie. (Guess What).
Right now the rantings out the way.
If you like sitting in a dark cinema/room, late at night with no distractions and you like ghost stories, then watch this film. I thought the acting, directing and sound score of this movie all worked really well and that with ghost stories less is more. The odd noise here and there, was that a ghost? or wasn't it? The uncertainty of whether this is real or not is what a ghost story should be all about, yes it's slow but that builds up the atmosphere, which i thought was great and there's some genuinely jumpy parts in the film. Sat here on my own in the dark watching this film had me gripped from start to finish. It's been a long time since i've seen a film this good and i recommend this to anyone who's into ghost stories.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Total nonsense. Weak plot, bad acting. The movie is just an empty
box,somebody forgot to fill it. Acting is at amateurs level, except for
Kelly McGillis of course. I'm an horror movies addicted, so i've
watched this movie just to add another notch on my belt, but really it
was no fun and not scary at all. At the end of the movie the girl goes
looking for Lee down the basement, and this is so unreal. They were
packing their stuff before leaving and the girl thinks Lee was going to
play hide and seek?
C'mon, that tells me a lack of ideas on how ending the movie and not just that...
For the over 25 crowd who miss great ghost stories like The Changeling,
Poltergiest,The Others, or eerie films like Suspiria and The
Fog(Carpenter's original not the horrid remake)- heck I'll even throw
Insidious in there, then check out The Innkeepers. It is a bit of a
slow burner at times but is consistently spooky, scary, and even during
the down time has you involved and getting to know the characters
dwelling in this Gothic tale.
Really good work in my opinion. If you are into Saw or Horror Remakes you can let this one go, but if you like being spooked on a stormy night with your other half sitting along side you gnawing on your shoulder then this is quite a fun ride! The director of this Ti West made House Of The Devil last year which I thought was entertaining if not a bit boring throughout. It showed the potential and he nailed it with The Innkeepers. A ghost story about an old hotel with a few secrets and a small yet interesting cast of specters and human characters, namely the female lead(Actress Sara Paxton) who while working the last weekend before the hotel is closed for good decides along with the other employee(Actor Pat Healy) to have a few scares ghost hunting the place. Kelly Mcgillis, yes that one- Maverick's gal from Top Gun has a great supporting role in this as a once former actress turned medium.
Anyway, it is just a good flick and will have you thinking about the ending for some time after it finishes. Check it out so hopefully more films like this are green lit. The Inkeepers surprised me quite a bit..
It's quite difficult to form any real opinion on this movie, as it is
so bland. Two bored employees working at a hotel just before it closes
after the tourist season, find ghostly goings on. And erm, that's about
it. It is a full forty minutes, yes FORTY, before anything out of the
ordinary happens, and even that is a piano key moving on it's own.
Prior to that nerve-shredder, we are treated to a chunk of the hum-drum working lives of the two employees, who share a common interest in the paranormal, mostly conveyed via a laptop they have at the front desk. There are a small number of guests at the hotel - a woman and her son, a woman who used to be an actress, now a self-proclaimed 'psychic', and later on, an elderly man.
There is some waffle about the ghost of a woman who is supposed to haunt the hotel and the lacklustre staff wander around sporadically (some bespectacled net-surfer and the girl from Last House on the Left, Sarah Paxton). The supernatural elements escalate further into the movie, but by then you will probably have fallen asleep, started staring at the carpet or at best, trying to amuse yourself with guessing the ending. The latter proves a fruitless task, by the way, as whoever wrote this story either has the imagination of a dead gerbil or simply couldn't be bothered.
And before anyone thinks 'ooh, he probably doesn't get the subtle nuances of psychological horror,' trust me, I do. 'The Blair witch Project' and 'Session 9', to name but two, showed thought and enthusiasm, but, like the employees of this hotel in the first half of this movie's running time, the makers of 'The Innkeepers' have somehow fused boredom and horror together. The result is shockingly tedious.
The Innkeepers is written and directed by Ti West. It stars Sara
Paxton, Pat Healy and Kelly McGillis. Music is by Jeff Grace and
cinematography by Eliot Rockett. It's the last few business days at the
historically spooky Yankee Pedlar Inn, and two employees spend their
hours by indulging in some amateur ghost hunting. But as the clock
ticks down it becomes apparent that the hotel's haunted past is
anything but an urban legend.
Following on from his excellent slow burn girl-in-peril horror film, House of the Devil, Ti West determinedly sticks to his principals for The Innkeepers. This automatically alienates a good portion of the horror faithful, especially in the younger echelons, for those who need and seek thrill after thrill, a ghost train ride of a horror movie, The Innkeepers is sure to be a hard slog to get through. But for a certain niche in horrorville, where the adults reside who love a sombre tone, character and story build up and a last quarter pay off, then The Innkeepers is a little gem of a creeper.
That's not to say that West's movie is flawless, far from it, there is still dumb decisions made, including a major league one that the film's terrifying conclusion hinges on, and the Inn itself is not exactly the stuff of haunted building nightmares. That is until we go down to the basement or up to the deserted third floor....But West has such a good sense of mood and the good sense to involve us so thoroughly with the two protagonists, both excellently portrayed by Paxton and Healy, that once things eventually take the turn into the realm of the outright scary, the little missteps are easily forgiven. West's traditional values to be applauded, not frowned upon. Bonus, too, is McGillis in a decidedly off kilter performance as an ex-actress-come psychic healer who likes a drink and has a significant role to play in proceedings.
The haunted house spooker is making something of a come back lately, and it's great to see directors prepared to get their movies out there and offer up an alternative to the over populated slice and dice formula. Ti West is showing himself to be a friend to the grown-up chill seeker, long may he continue in this vein. 8/10
Welcome to the Yankee Pedlar Inn, current residency: five. Living, that
is. Tasked with minding the 100-year-old establishment the weekend
prior to it shutting its doors for good, employees Claire (Sara Paxton)
and Luke (Pat Healy) find that besides the lone, mysterious woman
(Kelly McGillis) and mother/son duo that populate the creaky old
domicile, something more sinister lurks.
From 31-year-old director Ti West, who in 2010 directed the wonderfully retro The House of the Devil, comes The Innkeepers, a simultaneously old-fashioned (and unabashedly so) and tongue-in-cheek deconstruction of overused genre clichés such as "the boo moment." But that isn't to say The Innkeepers doesn't embrace these staples with equal affection, and eventually utilizes them wonderfully (and with ample flair) as things escalate toward the chilling final act.
What initially distinguishes this supernatural thriller from others of its kind is that the first third of the film offers barely a hint that this is a horror movie. Sure, nobody would be mistaken that this wasn't a fright flick, but the debut act is more concerned with the character development of Claire and Luke and showing the simply the mundane nature of running a practically (excuse the wording) dead business. These scenes are punctuated with silver-tongued dialogue that would make Sorkin or Tarantino smile. Not to say that West's script is on the same level, but it is certainly akin to that style and speed of exchange.
This is essentially a three-man show (though to be more accurate a two- woman and one-man show) led by the wonderful Paxton. She exudes a down-to-earth sexiness and plays Claire as a bit of an oddball but with a magnetic spark, a performance that couldn't have been more different than her work in last fall's Shark Night 3D. This proves she is a legitimate talent to watch and can hold her own when she is only required to emote through silence.
Healy is also great as Luke, who is even more of a nerdy outcast than his co-worker. He passes his time on the graveyard shift by watching porn and working on his paranormal-themed website. He has a great, easy chemistry with Paxton throughout.
The last remaining piece of the character trifecta comes from McGillis' Leanne, a former television star who has since turned to the profession of medium. She goes great work as more complex "Crazy Ralph" character though her inclusion at all lacks any real necessity, only to point out the ominous.
The Innkeepers has clever, underlying elements from the "are they crazy or not?" horror movie structure, and though there is never a doubt of certain characters' sanity, questions are certainly posed as to the truths behind what transpired. West's flick also has a clever foil to the normally dopey (and often infuriating) cliché of what I shall now refer to as the "door paradox": when stuff goes poltergeist-style crazy, use it! You see these characters unwillingly provoke the dark history of the inn, determined to capture some proof of paranormal infestation before it closes for good. The bumps in the night only spur them further (especially Claire) right into the finale, which finds her way over her pretty blond head.
A lack of gore and a very deliberate pace may dissuade those accustomed to the quick-cut, bloody flashiness of mainstream offerings, but this movie again proves ample talent exists in indie circles. Overall very humorous as its pokes and prods at the genre, there is a sense of solemn irony as the credits role. It is not a depressing finale, nor is it a disturbing one; I would simply peg it as especially fitting. A great score and a definite '70s vibe (far from as intentionally apparent as it was in The House of the Devil, which was in fact set in the 1970s) allows The Innkeepers to rise above recent horror offerings. At the very least, this is a passionate and noteworthy salute to the origins of the modern-day horror flick.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Let me start by saying this movie isn't for everyone and not because
some people are idiots - just different sensibilities. That's cool. But
I do; however, don't believe it deserves the score it has - esp with
all the terrible horror movies pumped out yearly. This one should get
some credit. It's a subtle horror moving that builds great tension and
has some good scares.
::SPOILERS:: The end was a bit open ended, but I don't mind that. Movies that keep the wheels in my head turning after the credits role are some of my faves.
As far as "getting it" I found that the characters spelled it out during the movie. The hotel is closing, Clair believes that Luke has seen the ghost and she's becoming increasingly desperate to see something supernatural before she loses her chance. Luke explains that she needs to be extremely careful when dealing with ghost/spirit hunting or trying to make contact because you have to be in the right state of mind otherwise you can start seeing things and will spiral out of control. As the movie goes on she begins to believe there are things happening around her, mysterious noises, etc. Every time she investigates and it's nothing she gets a HUGE scare and has to take a hit off her inhaler. During Claire's meeting with Lee she keeps asking if the spirit there is O'Malley, even after Lee tells her NO she still keeps speaking to O'Malley and completely disregards Lee's warning to her. "It was an accident/Stay out of the basement". Claire applies this to O'Malley even though it was a warning about/for her.
So Claire is completely wrapped up in believing O'Malley is there and making contact with her. The point that pushes her over mentally is seeing the old man in the tub. This is the point where she spirals out of control. She's seeing things, shes ends up in the basement (where she inadvertently locked herself in previously )where she is completely terrified without her inhaler after her tumble down the stairs. Asthma attack = death.
Have it figured out? Thought so, but ah so... slamming door scene in the end. Was she seeing things or is there something supernatural happening.. hmm. Maybe the whole O'Malley thing was just a story but Claire's death there ends up being the real ghost at the hotel after all the rumors. THAT is what I liked about this movie. It keeps you thinking and second guessing yourself. It's a ghost story. Are there ghosts - do you believe. Because that's the difference between being scared or not. Is it real or fake? I wasn't bothered that I didn't' get a definitive answer - although a door slamming shut in an empty hotel does suggest something strange - I can't say for sure.
In the end I found the movie to be spooky, the imagery great, the acting done very well and it left me thinking. Even a little creeped out to walk down the dark hallway in my very old house at night.
I enjoy a good ghost story and I believe this delivered. Can't wait to see what the director does next!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've noticed that when a filmmaker has the temerity to develop horror
movie characters beyond what would be required of them in slashers,
which is usually nothing, the films are deemed slow, uneventful, and
completely lacking in thrills and chills. Have we lost our ability to
care about what happens to these people, to appreciate the anticipation
of a scary moment, to savor suspense as it builds to a screaming
climax? Genuine terror has been all but overshadowed by immediate
gratification; if there isn't a decapitation or stabbing or
throat-slitting every five minutes, it isn't worth watching. Thank God
for directors like Ti West. With his previous film, "The House of the
Devil," and now with his new film, "The Innkeepers," he adheres to the
belief that horror movies benefit greatly from slow, almost
Hitchcockian cinematic approaches.
Although divided into three chapters and an epilogue, "The Innkeepers" is not about plot so much as it is about craft, namely the ability to generate apprehension in situations where just about nothing happens. When a young woman sits alone in a darkened room, we find that we're waiting right along with her and like her, we have absolutely no idea what we're waiting for. We do have some pretty good ideas, though. And in those agonizing moments in the darkness, we clench our fists, grit our teeth, grip our armrests, and shut our eyes halfway because we expect that our ideas just might become a reality. Sometimes they do, usually with a reliable but effective pop out scare. Sometimes, we're left hanging. And yet we're still frightened because we know the fear will build up all over again in a future scene.
Because the film is not so strict about its plot, there will inevitably be elements that are laughably cliché, not the least of which is the old woman who claims to possess psychic powers. She even has what she calls a pendulum a cone-shaped crystal attached to a chain. She lets it dangle from her finger as she tries to make contact with the spiritual world, and of course, she makes the vague but grim predictions of doom and gloom. Whether she's a crackpot or the real deal is not the point. She's a piece of the atmospheric puzzle. So too is the film's primary location, a New England hotel built in the nineteenth century and now just days away from closing. And then there's the hotel's back story, which involves the legend of a woman who died in one of the rooms; it's said that her ghost haunts the premises, and that one should never, ever go in the basement.
Central to the film are the title characters, two people who are fascinating solely because they're developed against our expectations. One is Luke (Pat Healy), a middle-aged man who runs a website dedicated to the hotel's supposed bouts of paranormal activity. The other is Claire (Sara Paxton), whose age is never revealed but could conceivably be in either high school or college. Because this is the hotel's final weekend, they have a very limited number of guests. This means that they have to spend those nights there rather than at their homes. This also means that they're given ample opportunity to develop as characters. The two seem to have a friendly sibling-like relationship, although people are liable to say that most surprising things when they're drunk. Whereas Luke is laid back and a bit cynical, Claire is a bit more high-strung, which at times makes her seem amusingly adolescent.
In the course of the film, a grand total of four guests will be seen. There's an angry mom (Alison Bartlett) and her young son (Jake Schlueter), who, according to Luke, are hiding from the woman's husband. There's the aforementioned psychic, Leanne Rease-Jones (Kelly McGillis), who was at one time an actress on a TV show Claire adored. And then there's an old man (George Riddle), who oozes creepiness from every pore. He insists on a room on the third floor, for that was where he and his unseen wife stayed on their honeymoon. It's a nostalgic visit one last stay before the hotel closes. He shuffles along with a suitcase in his hand, speaking in short bursts with an unsettlingly low voice.
Strange things have been happening over the past several nights. Perhaps the ghost of the woman is trying to make contact. Claire tries to capture footage with one of those instruments paranormal investigators are typically seen with in movies like this, which is to say I have no idea what it is or if it's even real. Not that it matters all that much, especially during the final twenty minutes; that's the point at which the scares happen much more frequently. Despite what we're shown, the reality of the situation is left a little obscure. The only thing we can truly make sense out of is the epilogue, and even then, it's based entirely on what we see rather than on what makes sense. Whether or not that was the intention, I'm grateful that "The Innkeepers" ended with a single shot that maintains the director's sense of style. To describe it would only ruin the suspense.
-- Chris Pandolfi (www.atatheaternearyou.net)
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