29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
A Small, But Wildly Appealing, Haunted House Thriller That Shouldn't Be Oversold As A Fright Fest
, April 19, 2012
This review is from: The Innkeepers (Amazon Video)
While I appreciated the generally positive reception Ti West's "The Innkeepers" received upon its theatrical run, I fear it may have been oversold as a fright fest. This is a small, but very appealing, piece set in a haunted New England inn that scores more from its human interactions than it does from its supernatural leanings. And that's just fine. If you're anticipating big scares and lots of horror mayhem, though, this may not be the film for you. Its charms are far more subtle and unexpected. In truth, I quite loved this movie. It has modest goals and, by keeping things intimate, succeeds quite admirably in feeling fresh and real. West keeps the effects to a minimum and allows the movie to come alive in the hands of his engaging cast. It's a wise decision as the screenplay is tart and funny and the actors are committed and enthusiastic.
Sara Paxton and Pat Healy play hotel clerks spending one last weekend in the historic The Yankee Pedlar Inn before it closes down for good. The rooms are mostly vacant, so the pair of amateur ghost hunters plan to use the opportunity to get physical recordings of its alleged haunting. Most of the film relies on the easy chemistry and camaraderie of Healy and Paxton and they play off each other well. Seriously, I laughed constantly throughout the film--especially due to Paxton's deft performance. Only three rooms have occupants for all or part of the weekend. They contend with a mysterious man with history in the hotel, a wayward wife and her child, and a fading actress (and spiritualist). As the hours progress, Paxton seems to be getting closer to uncovering real spirits. What begins as a lark may be headed for a more serious conclusion.
I wasn't particularly familiar with or a fan of Sara Paxton (her resume is populated by such fare as Shark Night 3-D and Lifetime Network's Blue Eyed Butcher), but this is a star making turn. She is so likable and so funny, I was more than willing to go on this adventure with her. Healy is also quite effective. Kelly McGillis (Top Gun, Witness) has one of her best roles in years as the actress. I loved every scene she and Paxton shared. The film ratchets up the tension as it pushes forward, but never attempts to overcomplicate or over-explain things. In the end, it may all be a bit vague in mythology. But truthfully, I didn't care. I so liked the cast and the movie had been so entertaining, I went with the ending even if it seemed a bit tidy (or maybe messy, I'm not sure). Again, this isn't about big scares or horrifying moments. It is largely about what is unseen and how real people react in creepy settings. "The Innkeepers" isn't revolutionary, perhaps, but it is funny and engaging. And I've become a huge Paxton fan! KGHarris, 4/12.
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