The Innkeepers REVIEW
"Christ, I must have been even more drunk than I thought last night."
Release Date: 8 June 2012 (also out on DVD on 25 June)
15 | 101 minutes
Director: Ti West
Cast:Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis
Ti West must be one of the most frustrating directors working in horror. His last effort, The House Of The Devil, took forever to get anywhere, before finally paying off in the final reel. The Innkeepers is an even more gruelling trial of audience patience, but offers far less reward for those who make the effort.
It follows hotel employees Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) on the final weekend before the Yankee Pedlar Inn closes its doors. With only the occasional customer to trouble them, they’re mostly free to loll around exchanging banter. The building is reputed to be haunted, and the pair have made numerous attempts to record the ghost’s presence.
For a very long time indeed nothing happens, unless you count arbitrary quirk – gasp, as Claire struggles to lift a bin bag into the trash! Presumably spending so much time with the slacker duo is meant to make us bond with them, but they’re a pretty irritating pair: Claire’s a wide-eyed sap, and the most memorable thing about Luke is his male-receding quiff (possibly the most horrifying sight in the entire film).
If you’ve ever carped about Hollywood horror’s unsubtle crash-bang tactics, you’re likely to feel at least a grudging respect for West for taking a different tack. But you may also find yourself stifling a yawn and making a mental note to be careful what you wish for in future. The scares do eventually arrive – most memorably, as an invisible hand plays a crashing chord on a piano. But by then the chances are you’ll have long-since lost interest. The main location (a real hotel of the same name in Torrington, Connecticut) makes for a drab, unatmospheric setting, and since they’re no great wits, the casual, flippant attitude of the heroes serves only to drain away what little tension there is.
What’s more, the film’s one ingenious twist is so subtly played that it’s liable to pass you by completely on an initial viewing. When the final scene arrives (you’ll know when), be sure to pay close attention to the curtains…
Ian Berriman twitter.com/ianberriman
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