The Innkeepers is a 2011 horror movie directed by Ti West (The House of the Devil), and starring Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, and Kelly McGillis.
The Setup: It's old hotel's last weekend open and two of the staffers decide to try and document the presence of longtime ghost, Madeline O'Malley.
I'm a big fan of a slow burning, atmospheric and completely creepy movie. Mmmm, so good, right?. I got to The Innkeepers as a recommendation in line with those interests.
Good news. Slow burning is true in this case. It's a little heavy in the character development area, but the dialogue is an entertaining enough mix of awkward and witty that it carries the movie up until and in between injections of creepy.
Sara Paxton's character here is one of the most offbeat leads I've seen in a horror movie. Kinda refreshing.
The Innkeepers soundtrack is great and surprising. In the beginning, it takes on a very low key approach to tension and gives it an almost made for TV feel. But when the onscreen tension mounts, it delivers in a big way.
The movie has atmosphere. It takes a back seat to character in the first half, slowing the thing down, but when it's there, it's great. The real scary set pieces are here too - mostly - which include a genuinely unsettling old man who checks in to the hotel last minute for a final stay in an old honey moon sweet.
But (...There's a but) there's one fatal flaw that stops this movie from becoming an awesome hidden gem. It's the ghost of Madeline O'Malley herself. In a day and age of CG added effects, it's nice to see filmmakers go for something more practical, but the end result here, was for me, the telltale eye holes cut out of a white bed sheet ghost - The fact that it looked fake took away from the horror. Was the scare factor still there? sure, but not what it could have been. Luckily, at the end, there's one awesomely creepy piece of imagery sandwiched between two shaky ones, so there's that for those who aren't easily spooked.
It's still a good watch, if you like the pacing slow and are in for something different. The Innkeepers gets a 6.8/10.
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