Starring: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis.
Plot: The Yankee Pedlar Inn is closing its doors for the final time and desk clerks Claire & Luke are waiting out their final shifts with minimal guests. With boredom setting in, amateur ghost hunter Luke suggests looking into the Yankee Pedlars past.
Who doesn’t love a good ghost story? Those who are regular readers of my blog know that I myself am an absolute sucker for a good ghost story. If a film has the capacity to chill whilst telling me a worthwhile & entertaining story, I’m generally onboard, so with that in mind, The Innkeepers was right up my street from the off.
The Innkeepers is the follow up effort from The House Of The Devil director Ti West who with that prior film made somewhat of a name for himself as “one to watch” in the world of independent horror cinema. With The Innkeepers, West most certainly keeps the quality up in my opinion though not in the opinion of a lot of reviewers when the film was released, criticising it for an incredibly slow pace in the first half much to the films detriment, this is a criticism I do not share. Yes the pace is slow to begin with, deliberately so, the hotels ghost story is told, the suspense is built expertly in my opinion with paranormal events occurring sparsely, slowly escalating rather than just throwing out jump scares at you willy-nilly. When the scares do come they are effective, at times ethereal and other times downright creepy, particularly towards the end of the film.
The secret to the effectiveness of the scares in The Innkeepers is the sense of banal normality that bookends them. The two leads, Sara Paxton & Pat Healy gel together so well, their conversations so naturalistic, a proper work husband & wife who’s likeable demeanours and often funny yet affectionate barbs at one another remind us all of our own work place partner in crime who makes the working day that little easier to stomach. Because we have been presented with two affable, relatively normal lead characters, the sparse moments of supernatural peril become more palpable, their payoffs much greater. We don’t want harm to come to these guys because they are essentially us, That is where The Innkeepers truly works its magic in my opinion. Factor in some memorable and I feel, truly creepy ghosts and you are on to a winner.
In closing, The Innkeepers Is a funny, creepy, slow build ghost story with a great payoff for those that persevere. Don’t be put off by any bad press that this film may have received upon release, it is most certainly worthy of your time this Halloween, or anytime for that matter.