Set in a haunted hotel, the highly enjoyable low-budget horror flick The Innkeepers plays like a film student’s homage to The Shining. There’s nothing revelatory or unique about this film, it’s all spooky, whispering voices and people unwisely going down to the basement to look for ghosties. Still, there are some very tense moments aided by excellent eerie sound effects as well as some popcorn shower inducing scares.
Sarah Paxton – daughter of Bill – stars as Clare the cute, feisty hotel clerk who along with annoying geek Luke (Pat Healy) suspects there may be a ghostly presence in the decaying old place they run, The Yankee Peddler Inn. A spiritualist guest (Kelly McGillis) inspires Clare to seek out the spook but prodding a ghost into action is not always a good idea.
The film at first has a casual, almost jokey manner reminiscent of Clerks which might test the patience of those wanting blood spurting horror. This leisurely pace, however, gives us a chance to become familiar with and sympathetic toward Clare and allows plenty of space for some amusing banter between her and Luke.
Ti West who wrote, directed and edited The Innkeepers has crafted an old school horror film that mostly relies on strange disturbing noises and implied threat rather than gratuitous gore or human suffering so common in today’s execrable torture porn horror films. That said, there is one confrontingly bloody scene in this film.
The script seems a little underdone as it could have provided more detail about the mystery surrounding the ghostly visitations at the hotel. Also, with only six main cast members and just about every scene restricted to a couple of rooms, it looks a little cheap at times. Minor quibbles aside, The Innkeepers is, a fun, creepy and at times thrilling ride.
Oh and watch the last scene very carefully.
Director: Ti West
Running time: 101 mins.
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