The first thing that drew me to this movie was an interesting poster. It suggested that this might be that creative and refreshing horror comedy I was looking for that night. The Innkeepers offers a refreshing take on the oversaturated haunted house horror genre. We will be following Claire and Luke, two employees of the supposedly haunted hotel Yankee Pedlar Inn during its final week before closing. As you can probably guess, some pretty weird shit is going to go down during that last week. So, yes, expect creaky floorboards, doors suddenly closing, and all the other good shit. But also expect the unexpected.
Directed by Ti West, a relatively young director with a good record behind him (The House of the Devil, Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever) The Innkeepers is not a conventional horror movie. I think it created its own genre by focusing on the characters and their intriguing personalities. It first bound you to them, made you feel like you know them, and then, towards the end, slapped you with horror. This, in turn, increased the believability and help immensely with the suspension of belief making the movie way scarier.
Apart from Claire and Luke, there’s another character we should be talking about and that’s the Inn itself. And let’s clear something up right away, yes, Yankee Pedlar Inn is a real hotel located in Torrington, Connecticut. And yes, the movie The Innkeepers was shot on location, at the real Yankee Pedlar Inn. This gives it that sense of authenticity and a rather creepy atmosphere. It reminds me a bit of the early 2000s haunted hotel classic 1408 starring John Cusack. However, you shouldn’t expect too much action from The Innkeepers, as this is more of a subdued and character-driven movie.
The old hotel, Yankee Pedlar Inn is finally closing after decades of scaring its unwary guests with various apparitions and sounds. Claire and Luke, the only two remaining employees have their ways of dealing with this event. While Claire uses a lousy dictaphone in an effort to catch any unsuspecting ghosts in the act, Luke prefers to drink beer. To drink lots of beer and work on the site dedicated to the history of this strange place. Neither of them knows what awaits them during these last few days…
It’s good to know that The Innkeepers isn’t a true, classical horror-haunting movie, actually most of it is about the two main protagonists, their lives, and dreams. So don’t expect to be entertained, scarred, or otherwise engaged in most of the film. That time should be spent pondering the motives and events that are unfolding. And perhaps drawing parallels with your own life. So it’s not a movie for everyone, but it is certainly a refreshing approach in an otherwise a little bit stale genre with stereotypes that are getting very boring. Keep an eye on Ti West and his next movies, we can expect great things from this young director.
Director: Ti West
Writer: Ti West
Cast: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Alison Bartlett, Jake Ryan, Kelly McGillis
Fun Facts: To save money, all the actors and the crew actually stayed at the Yankee Pedlar Inn during the filming of the movie.