MPAA Rating: R
Director: Ti West
FilmPulse Score: 8.5/10
Although this film has already been released on VOD for several months, and I wrote about it previously in my best horror films of 2011 article, it’s finally getting a limited theatrical release this weekend so now is a great time to check this one out.
The Inkeepers takes the classic haunted house story and attempts to breathe life into a stale concept. Like his previous film, House of the Devil, director Ti West masterfully accomplishes this task, and delivers a uniquely terrifying and stylish horror flick.
The film takes place in the real-life location of the Yankee Peddler Inn, which is supposedly haunted by the wondering spirit of past guests. The inn is about to be closed down, and employees Claire and Luke are determined to find proof of the paranormal presence before the night is through. As one might expect, they find what they are looking for, and then some.
While not as scary as a powerhouse of terror like Insidious, The Innkeepers is a slow burn in the best sense of the term. There are definitely some jump scares, but this movie is all about atmosphere. The tension builds as Claire and Luke explore the beautifully antiquated hotel. It’s obviously the hotel itself that really makes the film work. Every piece of furniture and fixture in the place looks as if it holds a lifetime’s worth of memories. Something tells me if this film took place at an Econolodge it wouldn’t have the same effect.
The small cast of characters is likable, something not common for horror movies, and you may recognize Kelly McGillis from Top Gun playing the character of Leanne Rease-Jones. All the actors give very good performances, largely backed by an excellent script. The banter between the characters feels natural, and the humor of the film gives it that Poltergeist feel.
The Innkeepers is not only one of my favorite horror films of the year, but would also make my short list for one of my favorites from 2011 in general. It transcends being lumped into the horror genre and is a must-see for any film-lover. Though many may not find it as superb as I did, I think everyone will find something to appreciate in this movie.
I didn’t get to see this in theaters, but I saw it on DVD, and it really did creep me out. It’s a slow burn and it takes its time, which is something I do love in horror.