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The Innkeepers

SXSW Film Review

The Innkeepers

Director & Writer: Ti West Hotel clerks by day, amateur ghost hunters by night, the last two employees of the historic Yankee Pedlar Inn set out to prove that their place of business is as haunted as its reputation. Cast: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis (World Premiere)

WHO'S IT FOR?: Its scarier (and funnier) than any recent mainstream horror movie. If Saw-loving teenagers had a slightly long attention span, even they would love it. For now, it's a horror film bound to satisfy any patient moviegoer, and to ultimately scare the crap out of anyone that questions it.


A bit like The Shining, a movie that writer/director Ti West must have been inspired by when making this film, The Innkeepers creates an incredible sense of atmosphere in a location that can fluctuate between amusing (or even hilarious) to absolutely horrifying.

West creates this pivotal atmosphere with numerous component of skill that have been matured since his previously overrated The House of the Devil, a cult-y copycat work that yearned for the same vault quality that Quentin Tarantino does with his 70’s homages. The slow burning in this story is incredible, in that it never feels truly “slow,” but it never relaxes. The two title characters have excellent chemistry with one another, which allows for great laughs. Yet at the same time, the film’s tension is nicely spread out to keep the film’s freakish uncertainty prevalent. For a great chunk of the movie, it’s never even known what we’re to be afraid of, but we still fear it whenever, even when the two leads are lounging around, drinking beer on the job. Of course, this is before the two start snooping around for ghost material.

In general, West’s film is very slick. Dutch angles (camera tilts) are used expertly in times of anxiety, and his long tracking shots are beautiful. Once the third act ramps up with its main course, the truly surprising, if not disturbing visuals stay in your head, like ruly, unwelcome guests.

One of my scariest theatrical experiences ever, The Innkeepers welcomes you into its atmosphere, but doesn’t let even think to let you go until the credits. Its terror is inescapable.



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