Posted May 21, 2012 by Nadia Attia in Films
 
 

The Innkeepers


By – Nadia Attia – Just two days before The Yankee Pedlar Inn closes its doors for good, the last two front desk staff – armed with audio recorders and a laptop – decide to investigate a ghostly presence said to haunt the property.

By – Nadia Attia

Just two days before The Yankee Pedlar Inn closes
its doors for good, the last two front desk staff – armed with audio recorders
and a laptop – decide to investigate a ghostly presence said to haunt the
property.

Claire (Sara Paxton) is a twenty-something who
has dropped out of college and has no aspirations beyond working behind the
front desk of the local hotel. Luke (Pat
Healy
) is a thirty-something, tech-obsessed slacker who has a soft spot for
his co-worker. Director Ti West
introduces his characters with humour and charm, and gives us time to get to
know and care about them before he even hints at any spooky shenanigans. This
kind of breathing space, so often skipped by horror directors, here really sets
up the small-town feel and restless energy of the film.

Claire and Luke
decide to fill their remaining shifts by ghost hunting and seek out the spirit
of Madeline O’Malley who Luke (semi-) believes haunts the hallways of the
Yankee Pedlar. Their clumsy attempts at making contact – including some amusing
commentary – are heightened however, when two strange guests check in. One is
an old man who insists on staying in Room 353. The other is an actress turned psychic, played by a superbly
icy Kelly McGillis.

People love a
good ghost story but sadly, not every director can deliver the scares in a
plausible way and keep you second-guessing. Ti West, however, has bucked the trend
and has written and directed a surprising, refreshingly modern, supernatural
chiller with heart. Perhaps one
reason that The Innkeepers feels so
plausible is that it’s set in the real Yankee Pedlar Inn – a place that gave
West and his crew nightmares when they resided there for two months whilst
working on his previous feature The
House of the Devil.

West was
already on people’s radar after The
House of the Devil
won over critics and cinema-goers in 2009 with its
retro-stylings and brutal plot, and with The
Innkeepers
he seems to have mastered his talent for tension-building. He
offers tasty morsels of dread through inventive sound design and art direction
before letting you have it with some head-on gory moments. Yes, there is a
basement, yes, there are doors slamming, but West teases you with his knowledge
of the horror genre, and has so many more tricks up his sleeve that your pulse
will quicken despite yourself. The Innkeepers will surely haunt you past the
closing credits.


Nadia Attia