the innkeepers | ti west | sara paxton | pat healy | kelly mcgillis | haunted house | haunted | ghost | united states | ghosts | lena dunham | drama | mystery | alison barlett | jake ryan | brenda cooney | george riddle | john speredakos | sean reid | kurt venghaus
Film: The Innkeepers
Director: Ti West
Writer: Ti West
Starring: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy and Kelly McGillis
This film is one that I originally saw while working at Family Video. I had a co-worker telling me how excited they were for this one, but I never heard of it at the time. My ex and I took this home and to be honest, we weren’t the biggest fan. I did rewatch this one for a podcast and then again for the Summer Challenge Series for the Podcast Under the Stairs. The synopsis is during the final days at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, two employees determined to reveal the hotel’s haunted past being to experience disturbing events as old guests check in for a stay.
As the synopsis states, this is taking place in the Yankee Pedlar Inn. From my understanding, this is a real place that is haunted. For this final weekend, the owner is away on vacation. It is being run by two employees, Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy). They are amateur ghost hunters. They want to get some sort of proof before the place is destroyed. Luke has set up a website with what information they have, but it isn’t great. They are also going to be staying there for this last go.
They aren’t the only ones. One of them is a woman with her son. She is played by Alison Bartlett and her son by Jake Ryan. She has a problem with two employees as they keep doing things that upset her. It doesn’t help that she is having martial problems and staying here as a chance to getaway. Also joining them is former famous actress who is older now of Leanne Rease-Jones (Kelly McGillis). Claire is a big fan, but feels dumb when she is embarrassed by this actress.
There are some mildly strange things that happen, like bumping heard in the front room and a piano mysterious playing on its own when Claire is recording EVP. Doors close by themselves and we learn the legend of the inn. There was a woman by the name of Madeline O’Malley (Brenda Cooney) who stayed there that killed herself. She was stood up on her wedding day and hung herself in the honeymoon suite on the third floor. The original owners didn’t want to lose business, so they hid her body in the cellar. They were found out and forced to give up their place because of it. This place has a long history and I like that the opening credits are showing this place throughout the years.
Claire continues to hear and see the weird things. Luke blows off most it and acts like he cares. He is concerned about Claire and tries to calm her down. We also learn that Lee is in town for a much different reason. The inn also gets another guest in the form of an older man, played by George Riddle. Claire is slowly more freaked out and wants to find proof.
As I said to start this out, I wasn’t the biggest fan the first time I saw it. Now that I’ve seen it three times, it has grown on him more and more with each viewing. This is a slow burn for sure. What I like here is that we get little pieces of information that build to the final product. There isn’t a lot to the story, but there also doesn’t need to be. This is a ghost story at heart. Something I would also say, it is written and directed by Ti West, so if you’ve seen anything by him, you definitely can tell he did this one.
Something that I find interesting is that the only person who sees the ghost is Claire. Luke claims he has and Lee seems to be able to communicate with spirits. I bring this up, because it makes you wonder if there really is a ghost here or not. There is an interesting logical explanation to what we are getting here where you could argue there is nothing supernatural. There is something at the end though that makes it all come together for me.
For the acting in this film, I am a big fan of Paxton and she looks good in this film. I also really liked seeing her as the haunting goes on, how she descends into fear that drives her crazy. I’m a big fan of this in film and I think Paxton does great portraying this, especially since it can be read two different ways. I actually also liked Healy. I loved seeing the banter with Paxton in the film. I also really liked that he has a crush on her and tries to tell her, but she is too amped to get to the bottom of the haunting. There is a bit there that I think she is letting him down easier. McGillis was solid in the role that she played as well. I thought the supporting cast helps round out the film, especially the bit parts from Barlett, Ryan, Lena Dunham, Cooney and Riddle.
Next I will talk about the effects of the film. Most of them looked to be practical to me and I thought they looked good. The ghost of Madeline O’Malley looked good. She was quite creepy when used. The old man also is done up at one point. I like how we find him at one point and what he does to get Claire to the climax. He was creepy looking. The cinematography is also well done, making us linger on shots and look for something around the room. The score of the film is solid as well. It builds the tension during the scenes that need it.
Now with that said, after a few viewings of this film I can say that I dig it. It won’t be for everyone though. This is a slow-burn haunted house film. What also makes it great is that it can be read that the house isn’t haunted, because the only person who sees anything is Claire. I like how the film builds and where it ends. The payoff though isn’t as great as some of West’s other films though. The acting in this film is solid. The effects are as well. The editing is intentional slow to build the atmosphere. I also thought the score helps to set the mood and builds tension. I feel this is an above average film. If you are fan of the genre, I’d definitely give this a viewing.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10