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.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.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.
Was I wrong to expect more?
"The Innkeepers" is well, first and foremost a very difficult movie to rate and review! I can't deny feeling a bit disappointed after my viewing, but on the other hand I realize I can't possibly claim that this is a bad movie. Quite the contrary, in fact In a relatively short time, the still very young writer/director Ti West distinguished himself as a respectable narrator with a versatile imagination and a vastly profound knowledge of the genre classics. Horror buffs' expectations naturally increase with every new movie, so after West's creative and playful zombie debut "The Roost" and the captivating throwback to 70's satanic horror "The House of the Devil", a whole lot of people – including myself – were highly anticipating his homage to atmosphere driven haunted house effort. And "The Innkeepers" is largely a praiseworthy accomplishment, for sure. Particularly the tone, atmosphere and the decors/set pieces are downright stupendous and the hotel filming location ideally lends itself for a good old-fashioned and nostalgic ghost tale. Dreamy Claire and sarcastic Luke work as reception clerks at the classy old Yankee Peddlar Inn. The hotel exists since many decades but has filed for bankruptcy now, so during the last boring weekend with minimum capacity, Claire and Luke occupy themselves with trying to find evidence of the hotel's legendary ghost story from the past. Many years ago, the abandoned bride Madeline O'Malley hung herself in the honeymoon suite, and according to the local folklore legends her restless spirits still meanders around the corridors of the Yankee Peddlar Inn. Claire seems the most receptive for the ghostly vibes, even to a point where a spiritual medium strongly advises her to leave the hotel. If it were all exclusively about style & atmosphere, "The Innkeepers" would deserve a solid 10/10 rating. Not since "The Shining" we have seen such an efficient usage of a guest house in horror films and Ti West (very) patiently takes his time to introduce the main characters, as well as to illustrate the background of the hotel and generate the ominous mood-setting. This inevitably results in very long suggestive horror tableaux (slow moving camera through the hallways, doors slowly closing by themselves, etc ) and false scares, but it's all very stylish and eerily crafted. But slow building ups do eventually have to lead somewhere and this is where the film falls short in my humble opinion. The whole denouement is too confusing and leaves too many elements open for personal interpretation. There are some truly powerful "jump" sequences in the last fifteen minutes of the film, but the horror always remains oppressed in favor of the mystery of it all. I wasn't looking for gore and filth, but a bit more excitement would have been welcome. Too bad. Purely talking in terms of "new" atmospheric ghost stories, the James Wan/Leigh Whannell film "Insidious" is slightly more satisfying.
- Nov 2, 2012
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