The Innkeepers (2011)

The Innkeepers

Composed with restraint, obvious talent and populated with believable characters, The Innkeepers is a minimalist version of The Shining. Like Kubrick’s eerie classic, it’s set in a near-abandoned hotel, but here it’s a small inn in a small town. The Yankee Pedlar Inn may not have the intimidating grandeur of The Overlook Hotel, but director Ti West gets a lot of mileage out of stretching corridors and deserted dining rooms.

There’s a ghost story here, but it takes a while to arrive. The first act is more like an indie dramedy (including a brief cameo from Lena Dunham). The innkeepers, Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) are actually searching for ghosts, hoping to bring in paranormal-obsessed customers in and boost business.

West doesn’t rely on jump scares, and the ghost story clichés, while present, are used well (the ever-present psychic gives enigmatic predictions rather than clunky exposition). In fact, a great deal of the narrative is ambiguous – like The Shining, it’s possible to interpret the film as not involving ghosts at all. This ambiguity is refreshing – too many horror films over-explain – but is also a limitation, as the film left me with too many unanswered questions by its conclusion.

Rating: 149/200

4 thoughts on “The Innkeepers (2011)

  1. Here we are again – I loved this movie but I am a Slow-Burner type of no-jump-scares type of guy. I have read tons of (beep) about how this sucked – but not in my book. Give me a double header of this and THE PACT and I will have a happy day. Great write-up!

    • Thanks for the comment – I liked this a lot too; it is similar to The Pact in a lot of ways but it just felt like there was much more going on, whether it’s the ambiguous screenplay or the stronger filmmaking/acting behind it.

      (Although in my search to find a picture for this post I found there was more to the final shot than I realised; not sure if this makes me like the film more or less)

  2. Pingback: The House of the Devil (2009) | Carbon Copy

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