DVD Review: The Innkeepers

Though it's the month of October, when almost every other movie blog has had multiple posts related to the horror film genre by now, you might have noticed that Reel Insight has been sorely lacking. That's because Jess and I are big fraidy cats. So you won't find a "Month of Terror" blogathon around these parts any time soon (i.e. ever), but I thought we could use at least one review related to scares. And since my dear husband has saturated my our Instant Queue with no less than 50 low budget horror flicks, I had plenty from which to choose. With last year's The Innkeepers being one of few I had actually heard of, I indulged my senses in 100 minutes of chills and thrills...well, sort of.

After a century, the once grand Yankee Pedlar Inn is closing its doors. During its final weekend of operation, the last two employees, Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy), decide to do some ghost hunting, as the hotel has a reputation of housing the spirit of a begrudged bride abandoned on her wedding night, which resulted in her supposed suicide.

For over an hour, the film builds a sense of tension, with creepy atmosphere and a haunting score. It exceeds in bringing the familiar to the audience. Most of us have been in an old building with a rich history, giving us an odd, chilling feeling, which is what ghost stories prey on. As Claire gets excited to go ghost hunting in the practically empty hotel, it took me back to hearing the ghost stories of various places I had been (college, old hotels, etc.) and I could really identify with Claire's enthusiasm.

Unfortunately, the story veers off in odd directions at times. It's mentioned several times that Claire has no direction in life, something that upsets her a bit. However, this angle does not tie into the ghost story at all. It's nothing more than filler conversation. Early in the film, a former-actress-turned-medium (Kelly McGillis) checks into the hotel, and Claire calls upon her expertise to contact the ghost, feeling as ridiculous as it sounds. And by the end, any genuine connection earlier established with Claire is lost when she turns into the stereotypical dumb blonde, who goes to investigate the odd noises in the creepy basement instead of staying put. And it's just all downhill from there, because once we see the things we've only been told about, the payoff is far from worth it.

The Innkeepers boils down to a simple ghost story that's been told a thousand times over for any building more than 50 years old. Sadly, despite a decent build of tension, The Innkeepers falls very short and doesn't bring anything new to a story that would've felt perfectly comfortable on a half-hour episode of Nickelodeon's "Are You Afraid of the Dark?"

1 comment:

  1. I liked the characters in this and their chemistry together. But the story goes absolutely nowhere with almost no payoff. It builds up to nothing, and there are very few scares. I liked the movie for the characters, but I doubt I'll watch it again.


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