The Innkeepers Movie Review

Like a late-1970s haunted house thriller, this film subdues its scares, filling the screen with red herrings and off-handed comedy while building a creepy atmosphere. Yet while there are several genuinely chilling moments, the story never quite comes to life, as it were.

Claire and Luke (Paxton and Healy) aren't taking their last weekend on the job seriously. The hotel they work in is closing, so they're trying to finally get proof of a legendary ghost. They only have two guests: an angry mother (Bartlett) and her young son (Schlueter). Then a former actress (McGillis) arrives, who turns out to have some psychic abilities. And an older man (Riddle) also checks in, asking for a specific room on the closed-off floor.

Meanwhile, Claire is starting to think that the ghost might be real.

Essentially this is a mumblecore comedy with moments of horror woven in. Claire and Luke are hilarious slackers who hate the annoying next-door barista (the annoying Dunham) and delight in scaring each other. They're nicely played by Paxton (who's like a young Reese Witherspoon) and Healy as likeable idiots you'd never want to spend five minutes with. Meanwhile, McGillis gets the balance right for her character's lifelong impatience with fans as well as her interest in the afterlife.

Along the way writer-director West keeps things tightly under control, dropping hints about what's coming while leaving other threads dangling enigmatically.

The camerawork, editing and especially the music let us know when we're supposed to be scared, although this is often a trick to get us to jump at an unexpected noise. And the hotel setting is terrific, familiar but eerie, with plenty of door-lined corridors and a particularly scary basement.

So it's a shame that the script waits so long before grabbing hold of us. The only true freak-out moments come at the very end, and along the way there are long stretches that feel rather dull and superfluous, with several sequences that add nothing at all to the plot. Sure, all of this lets us get to know the characters better, but it doesn't build the required sense of dread. And it leaves the final act feeling both underdeveloped and rather trite.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer : Derek Curl, , Peter Phok,

Starring : , , , Alison Bartlett, George Riddle, , Brenda Cooney, Jake Schlueter


The Innkeepers Rating

" OK "

Rating: 15, 2011


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