Just like a lot jobs out there, I'd imagine that working at an inn or anything like that may become boring at times. In these situations, most people will try to find a way to keep themselves occupied. That's what happens in the film The Innkeepers when two employees decide to do some paranormal investigating.
Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healey) find themselves as the last employees at an inn that's about to shut down for good. This isn't just any inn. It's also supposed to be one of the most haunted hotels in New England. Before the doors close, the two employees want to get evidence of the paranormal activity that supposed to be going on in their place of work. While doing this, they also meet some interesting guest that might make the unknown even stranger.
The Innkeepers wasn't what I was really expecting it to be. I was expecting a slow-moving vehicle that tries to scare with suspense only to have it lash out at you every now and then. While that did happen a little, there was a lot more to it than that.
The Innkeepers wasn't really scary and in many cases, it didn't really try to be. Many of the early parts of the film are explaining to us who the characters are and what their days are like working at the Yankee Pedlar Inn. These scenes are usually filled with a significant amount of comedy that comes from smart dialog and intriguing circumstances. I didn't expect this movie to be so dialog heavy or for it to focus on some of the things it focused on. The lead actors pretty much carried the film this way and did it effectively.
The Innkeepers is divided into four chapters. While they do have horror elements, the first two are filled with comedy, boredom (the characters being bored during work hours) and a sense of eeriness. The tone of The Innkeepers is always subtle. It really helps in creating the sense of isolation throughout the film that the director appeared to be striving for. The movie feels like you might expect it to if you were in a small town like this. It feels secluded in the day and even more so at night.
As for the comedy, I've come to expect at least some form of comedy in most movies these days, so I wasn't surprised to see some in The Innkeepers. I was caught off guard by how much of it was in here and it was far more than anyone could have anticipated. The comedy that was featured wasn't over the top or anything either. Like the overall tone of the film, it was subtle and it had no issues with blending into the movie. As a matter of fact, it was one of The Innkeepers more important elements.
Although the film wasn't what I'd call scary, it was very entertaining. One of the main sources of the film's success is the suspense and how it's delivered. The suspense that's implemented was a major factor in my enjoyment of the film. It builds up anticipation and is basically used as a substitute for some of the scares that you might expect from a movie like this. It's present through the duration of the film, but it really shows up quite nicely in the final sequences when everything reaches it climax.
I can't classify this movie as a horror movie, because it really wasn't when you factor everything in. This was a film that had a bit of everything in it. It had some elements of horror, but it also had a certain amount of charm, personality and emotional shifts throughout. It had a campy feel to it and it came off as something of a throwback to the older horror films in some ways. That and the awkward structure of The Innkeepers added more flavor to the director's subtle approach.
The horror elements of the movie take their time showing up. When they do show up, they are smooth and properly placed. These moments are a nice pay off as we wait for these scenes to present themselves. If you watch this in hopes of seeing blood, gore and many of those modern horror film trappings then you may be disappointed. As I said earlier, this isn't a horror movie per se, it's a movie with aspects of a horror film and it has many other things included.
Director: Ti West
Film Length: 100 minutes
Release Date: February 3, 2012
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures