Ti West’s The Innkeepers has a lot of foreplay, it takes a long long time before the action gets going – we’re talking a good hour of just hanging with the two employees left behind in the hotel’s last days, shooting the breeze, watching them dance around their chemistry and basically try to amuse themselves with some good old fashioned ghost stories.
Luckily they are such well written and likable characters that the time with them is well spent, you care about them and their relationship, you like to hear them chat – similar as it is to how you and your friends chat… why, they could be you!
This writer/director (Ti West – The House of the Devil) relishes the slow build, the gradual creep to the open door that you are itching to look behind but dread it at the same time. His achievements here are many – the natural dialogue, the sweet ‘will they/wont they’ of the protagonists, the ability to make a hotel in a busy city still seem sinister and full of secrets, an injection of humor with the barista next door not in any way diminishing the tension and in fact just adding to the everyday horror of it all.
This is an old fashioned ghost story with an added element of the psychological twist mixed in for good measure.
The acting, pacing, direction are all well above par, with sound being of utmost importance here, crucial as it is to the atmosphere of dread Mr West manages to create and sustain in this movie.
The story of Claire and Luke, manning the fort of The Yankee Pedlar Inn in the time before it closes for good and amusing themselves by investigating it’s long-held reputation as a haunted hotel is an engrossing, frightening and masterfully scripted little film that i enjoyed immensely in spite of it’s beginning lack of action, something that has previously irked me in other films but seems well-suited to the sub-genre of ghost horror.
If you look on the message boards there are interpretations of the ‘three ghost scene’ with Kelly McGillis and how it alters your impression of the rest of the film – i encourage you to read them, it certainly enhanced and clarified my ideas of it.
I liked this film, some wont and thats ok, but i found it a breath of fresh air in the sea of nonsensical torture porn and gore fests that seem to dominate alot of horror aficionados collections these days.