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The Innkeepers Review – Haunted Hotel Hijinks

Poster for Ti West's The Innkeepers.
poster for the innkeepers.

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Luke and Claire are the last two remaining employees of The Yankee Pedlar Inn. In an attempt to make the most of the final days the hotel is open for business, they check in as guests. The pair takes turns running the desk and catches some rest and relaxation when they are off duty. Out of boredom and curiosity, the hotel staffers begin to look into the haunted past of the establishment. In doing so, they soon realize that there is more truth to the stories than they could have possibly imagined.

The Innkeepers is Ti West’s highly anticipated follow up to the cult hit The House of the Devil. It is an atmospheric haunted house story that has plenty of good scares and a wry sense of humor.

Ti West wrote, directed, produced, and edited this 2011 ghost story. He reportedly wrote the screenplay over a weekend but in spite of an atypically short conception phase, the film rarely feels rushed or slapped together. In fact the finished product has a very polished quality to it. Though The Innkeepers was made on a minuscule budget Ti West has once again managed to make nothing into something. The film has the feel of a much more expensive production than what was actually spent on its creation.

West’s script is original and puts a creative spin on the typical ghost story. His prowess as a director proves to be more than a fluke. He brings much of the same ambiance to The Innkeepers that he did to his 2009 film The House of the Devil. This feature takes a lighter tone than West’s previous endeavors, which allows the director to showcase his dark wit. The scene where Claire is trying to scare a small child is absolutely hysterical because that’s the kind of thing most people have wanted to do but are too polite to actually go through with it.

This 2011 feature film takes the same slow burn approach as Ti West’s The House of the Devil. The film unfolds in such a way that each scene builds upon the intensity of the previous until the picture eventually arrives at a shocking and unexpected conclusion. The ending is a bit of a mixed bag. It would have been nice to see a little bit more of an explanation rather than such an abrupt ending. However, the scenes it is preceded by are masterfully put together and if nothing else, the finale is quite unexpected.

Part of what makes the film so highly atmospheric is the decision to shoot on location rather than filming the whole picture on a sound stage. The Innkeepers was actually shot at The Yankee Pedlar Inn and that proves to have been a smart choice. The inn is full of character and is an essential part of what makes the finished product so magical.

Sarah Paxton (Shark Night) and Pat Healey (Cheap Thrills) have brilliant chemistry as Claire and Luke. The pair is known to be real life friends and their friendship translates very effectively to the screen. It doesn’t appear that they are acting. Their interactions are completely authentic and are sure to draw the viewer in.

The Innkeepers isn’t exceptionally gory. Horror fans will definitely appreciate it but The Innkeepers is also the kind of movie that a horror enthusiast can watch show their friends that aren’t typically into horror films.

The Innkeepers is highly atmospheric, features terrific performances, and is likely to appeal to more than just horror fans. If you haven’t had the chance to check it out, it is a very enjoyable film. The Innkeepers is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.

WICKED RATING: 7/10  [usr 7]

Director(s): Ti West
Writer(s): Ti West
Stars: Pat Healy Sara Paxton
Year: 2011
Studio/ Production Co:  Dark Sky Films
Budget:   Unknown
Language: English
Length: 101 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Haunted House


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Written by Tyler Doupé
Tyler Doupe' is the managing editor at Wicked Horror. He has previously penned for Fangoria Mag, Rue Morgue Mag, FEARnet, Fandango, ConTV, Ranker, Shock Till You Drop, ChillerTV, ComingSoon, and more. He lives with his husband, his dog, and cat hat(s).
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