Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Innkeepers (2011)

Tom:
The Innkeepers,2011,USA
Director: Ti West
Stars: Sarah Paxton, Pat Healy & Kelly McGillis
                                       ''Never skimp on bread; you'll always regret it.''

Film #70 of The December Project

I feel like I have stated this in at least 30 of my reviews this month, but Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining' is my favorite film of all time. That film is a supernatural tale set in an isolated hotel, any film that also meets that plot criteria is obviously going to gain my interest, despite whatever its quality may be. 'The Innkeepers' is one of  those films.

Claire is a very pleasant and kind young girl who works at an almost desolate hotel, which is in its final week of business. The staff consists only of Claire and Luke, an expert on the paranormal. The two take shifts running the desk of the hotel as well as searching for spirits that continue to lurk from the Hotel's past. Why starts out as a hobbie, may turn deadly.

I was so pleasantly surprised by this film, I went in expecting nothing but a sub par ghost story, what I got was a highly entertaining and effective horror film. 'The Innkeepers is set out in three chapters, and each one continuously builds suspense and atmosphere quite well, ending in an almost satisfying conclusion. What surprised me most about this film was how much I enjoyed the human aspect, I loved the first twenty minutes which just included conversing between Sarah Paxton and Pat Healy's characters, its strange that I could of almost groaned when the horror aspect kicked in.

The is quite a good horror/thriller, its atmospheric and tense with a few jump out moments. The films climax didn't really work for me though, it felt far too abrupt and left too many questions unanswered, I know that's a good thing sometimes but it didn't work for me here, with that being said I still thoroughly enjoyed the horror aspect of the film.

'The Innkeepers' is directed by Ti West, who is someone I don't really know a lot about (it actually wasn't till just now that I realized this was the second West film I had seen today as I also watched the abysmal 'V/H/S') West seems to be a Horror filmmaker who creates new horror by the way of older traditions, it worked for Kevin Williamson, right ?  I get the feeling that West is not very popular amongst film goers, but I don't fully understand why, Sure West seems to rely on past techniques at times but it usually results in an at least a semi original piece of work. As I mentioned in the intro, the film feels heavily inspired by 'The Shining' (why wouldn't you be ?) and while there is constant allusions and references to that film, it never feels like its completely replicating it. West seems to strike just the right mix of homage and originality. While I cant consider myself a fan of his yet, I do look forward to seeing more of his work in the future.

The film uses it beautiful location of the Yankee Pedlar Inn to a decent effect, we only get to see the lobby and a couple of floors but it is a glorious old hotel and wish we just got to see a little more of it, but that's not really a huge complaint. The film is well photographed by Eliot Rockett who seems to be able to give the venue a life of its own, and make us believe unseen entities are present.

I can now say I am a big fan of Sara Paxton, she was superb in this film. She is so easily supportable and so sympathetic, I loved her in this film and hopefully she can continue this form and create a solid filmography. Paxton's constant on screen companion Pat Healy, is also great in this, he and Paxton's chemistry is always believable and usually quite funny. Kelly McGillis is also quite good in her role.

I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed 'The Innkeepers'. Ti West does a good job walking the fine line between homage and originality and is able to create a very entertaining film. Not to mention Sarah Paxton is damn awesome aswell.


***1/2

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