THE INNKEEPERS is brought to us from promising filmmaker Ti West. Previously, West gave us the chilling throwback horror film The House of the Devil.
The Innkeepers is set in a small town in New England where an old hotel, Yankee Pedlar Inn, is about to close down. It is being ran by the hotel's last two employees, Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy). The hotel is pretty much empty and is inhabited by only the two employees and a small selection of guests. Claire, who is a fan of the paranormal, decides to investigate the hotel's old haunted legend of Madeline O'Malley.
Throughout the film, we experience Claire's findings and are freaked out as much as she is as she goes deeper and deeper into her investigation. With Luke, on the other hand, we experience the more skeptical perspective in the story. So what does Claire experience? Well, you'll have to watch the movie to find out.
The film may be a bit slow-paced for some viewers, but I think that worked really well. With this pace, we are allowed a good amount of time to really like the characters and know why they are they way they are. It also allows us to let the minimal scares sink in and process. This film is not saturated with pointless jump-scares. Instead, we allow the horrors and fears that are already embedded in us to push the level of freight to the level we want it to.
The film score is excellent and reminiscent of the horror films from the 60's and 70's. The sound design is excellent as well in that it is extremely simple. There is one scene where Claire uses a directional microphone to record eerie sounds around the hotel. We as the audience hear everything exactly as she does through her headphones. This is my opinion was really well done. You should definitely watch this with the volume up just to make sure you don't miss anything.
Is this your standard modern horror film in the same way James Wan (The Conjuring, Insidious) makes them? No. Far from it. Is it a horror film horror buffs should experience? Definitely.
I give The Innkeepers a solid high 7. I would've given it a higher score if the finale wouldn't have been so weak. Not enough of a pay-off. Then again, rare is the horror movie that has a strong pay-off.
During this Halloween season, be sure to check in to the Yankee Pedlar Inn for a good time.