THE INNKEEPERS (2011)
Ti West’s follow up to his spooky 80s throwback House of the Devil is a return to a more basic and CGI-less haunted house story and is all the more refreshing for it. Tale of the final days of a supposedly haunted New England hotel is a fun and sometimes downright scary horror chiller that will please those horror fans that can still appreciate the days when effects were done live and scares were generated by the director and his camera, not digital FX artists. West once again takes his time to slowly build the atmosphere as he presents us with the story of the remaining employees of the old Yankee Pedlar Hotel, Claire and Luke (Sara Paxton and Pat Healy) as they decide to do a little paranormal investigating to gain evidence of the hotel’s haunting before it closes. It gives nothing away to say that they may not like what they find.
Ti West starts the film out with a light tone as we get to know these two slackers with an interest in the paranormal and as the story progresses, the tone slowly gets darker until, as with House Of The Devil, West unleashes his supernatural horrors during the intense final act. Some of today’s impatient horror fans might not appreciate the slow burn, but it worked in House of the Devil as it does with Innkeepers because, when we finally get to the good stuff, it is all the more effective since we haven’t been bludgeoned with it from the start. West gives us a few red herrings and some spooky stuff along the way to wet the appetite and thus we are primed and ready when the real scares start. It also doesn’t hurt that we like Claire and Luke and obviously are afraid for them when they fail to heed a psychic guest’s (Kelly McGillis) warnings about leaving well enough alone.
A really fun, spooky ghost flick that proves once again that Ti West is a legitimate filmmaking talent who’s work deserves to be noticed.
3 and 1/2 adorable amateur spook hunters