Thursday, June 28, 2012
This one has been tagged with "Very Long Wait" for quite some time in my Netflix queue, but I finally got a chance to watch The Innkeepers last night. And after such a prolonged period of anticipation, I was anything but disappointed. The film has plenty to recommend it: well-drawn characters (most notably Sarah Paxton as a nerdy but endearing clerk with amateur interests in paranormal research), a creepy setting (a mostly vacant and reputedly ghost-harboring New England inn on its last weekend of operation), elements of low-key humor seamlessly melded with moments of genuine terror. Much like writer/director Ti West's previous effort, The House of the Devil, the plot here heats up slowly but boils over in a frenetic, fright-filled climax (a word of caution: avoid the official trailer if you haven't seen it already, since it spoils too many of the film's scary surprises). Eschewing gratuitous violence and the hackneyed found-footage formula, the film forms a fresh piece of old-school horror, and is far superior to the supernatural pap fed to viewers these days. Not since The Shining has a hotel-centered cinematic narrative been so enjoyably haunting. For fans of the macabre, The Innkeepers is definitely worth checking out.