- Director:Ti West
- Cast:Pat Healy
- Release Date:May 31, 2012
- Running time:101 minutes
- Film Worth:$15.50
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
Proving his deft hand at conjuring up ambience and suspense, director Ti West has crafted a modest but impressively involving horror flick.
Director Ti West is emerging as a distinctive horror talent. Here, as in his earlier feature, House Of The Devil, his main preoccupation is with atmosphere and the slow building of tension. The setting for The Innkeepers is a formerly grand old hotel, The Yankee Pedlar Inn, on its last weekend of business before closing down. A gawky young clerk, Claire (Sara Paxton), and her colleague, Luke (Pat Healy), comprise the hotel's skeleton crew as it receives its meagre final clientele. Claire and Luke are paranormal enthusiasts who are determined to capture evidence of The Yankee Pedlar's resident ghost before it's too late. Perhaps to suggest that this is an old-fashioned ghost story, as well as to echo the era of the hotel's glory days, the film is divided into chapters with silent film-style titles.
West is an expert at isolating his characters in interiors that are rendered subtly sinister. To this end, he keeps his cast small in the manner of The Shining, a film that unavoidably springs to mind given the empty hotel setting. Though for some viewers, the time that West takes to build to a relatively brief climax will seem excessive, his skill at creating dread through suggestion is impressive. Such considered pacing provides the opportunity to develop character, and the relationship between Claire and Luke is particularly well-drawn, though Paxton overdoes it somewhat with the twitchiness. At times, this feels more like an indie coming-of-age flick than horror. But by the time that events escalate, we've invested in the protagonists, which makes the last thirty minutes doubly tense.
The film is let down slightly by an undeveloped narrative which includes a classic example of horror movie character stupidity, but West's commitment to creating ambience and suspense is such that this can almost be overlooked.