Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Innkeepers

No Vacancies

Rated: R  Language, some sexual references and brief drug material.
Release Date: February 3, 2012
Runtime: 1 hr 41 min

Director: Ti West
Writers: Ti West
Cast: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis, George Riddle, Brenda Cooney, Alison Bartlett, Jake Ryan

SYNOPSIS: After a hundred years of service, the Yankee Pedlar Inn is closing for good at the end of the weekend. The two remaining employees, Claire and Luke, deal with a couple last guests a well as possible disturbances by the spirit of Madeline O'Malley.

REVIEW: Writer/Director/Editor and all around slashy cinephile Ti West, best known for The House of the Devil and Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, returns as writer and director of his newest released project, The Innkeepers
The Yankee Pedlar Inn, the 1891 established hotel, has undergone many remodels and updates to try and cater to their guests. But as it prepares to close for good, its two remaining employees must man the front desk for any remaining guests. Asthmatic Claire (Sara Paxton, Shark Night 3D) and nerdy Luke (Pat Healy, Rescue Dawn) pass the time talking about all of the eerie activity that they have encountered while working in the Inn. Luke even has a website dedicated to the spooky history and events that have past through the corridors of the old hotel. Since the owner is away for the last opened weekend and because there are only a few remaining guests, Claire and Luke take the opportunity to try and get tangible evidence of the ghost of Madeline O'Malley (Brenda Cooney, The House of the Devil) for Luke and his ghost hunter hotel history website. Taking separate shifts, they wander around the property with their listening devices in an attempt to capture something on tape. The only thing stopping them from ghost hunting properly are the remaining guests - an angry mother (Alison Bartlett) and her son (Jake Ryan), a former television and movie star Leanne Rease-Jones (Kelly McGillis, Witness) attending an out-of-character local conference, and an old man (George Riddle, Arthur (1981)) who pleads with Luke to be allowed to stay in the third-floor honeymoon suite even though the entire floor has been stripped and closed off for use.

Ti West creates a quirky, subtle hotel ghost story in the tradition of Stephen King's classic Colorado Overlook Hotel depicted in The Shining. The main differences are the scale of the Yankee Pedlar Inn versus The Overlook, the smaller scale of menace that the Yankee Pedlar Inn contains, and the fact that the employees of the Yankee Pedlar Inn are stuck at their hotel because of a slacker's sensibility to their workplace instead of feet of entombing snow.
The dialogue and tone throughout is more Clerks than Halloween. Claire and Luke ponder what comes next in their lives after the hotel's closure. When Claire goes next door to the coffee shop, she ditches the java all together when the barista decides to open up to her. And when Claire takes a bag of garbage out to the dumpster, her attempts to swing the hefty bag up at the same time she flips up the dumpster's lid is a slice of physical comedy gold.

All comedy and slacker sensibility aside, West does write in some fine creeps. Alternatively, Luke and Claire sit in silent disused banquet halls and laundry rooms during the darkened off hours. Ivory piano keys tinkle of their own accord. Faint whispers that fill the air and the sound equipment's headphones instantly quiet when the headphones are removed. Even the old man desperate to relive the nostalgia of his honeymoon by checking into the same room from years ago forces goosebumps by his simple pleas and payment in cash. In the third act, when Claire fails to heed the warning of her television and movie idol by venturing into the hotel's basement, any pretense of dry drama falls away to eerie claustrophobic tension and frights.

Ti West tells the tale of the Yankee Pedlar Inn in three segments, titled carded as 'The Last Weekend", "Madeline O'Malley", and "The Last Guest", plus a "Epilogue". The opening sequence shows the actual Yankee Pedlar Inn in Torrington, Connecticut with its renovations and remodels through the years since its establishment in 1891, hinting at the deep history that the hotel in the story holds tight within its walls. Shot entirely on location, West changes the complexion of the building's interiors with his own style to produce the sense of dread and suspense that carries the film from light personalized drama to a fright film worthy of a look from behind your fingers.

WORTH: Matinee or Rental

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