In 1983, financially struggling college student Samantha Hughes takes a strange babysitting job that coincides with a full lunar eclipse. She slowly realizes her clients harbor a terrifying secret, putting her life in mortal danger.
Hey daddio, I don't wanna go, down to the basement!
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
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