The Innkeepers

I remember when The Innkeepers first came out it got a lot of positive press. I was super excited about it because I love a good ghost story. The movie was written, directed, and edited by Ti West, the man behind The House of the Devil, which I’m actually very fond of. I had high hopes for it so I guess I felt extra let down when it ended.
The movie is broken up into chapters with these title cards that I actually liked quite a bit.
title
The movie follows Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy), the last two employees at the Yankee Pedlar Inn.
claireluke
It’s the last weekend that the inn is open and they want to try their hand at ghost-busting. The Yankee Pedlar has its own resident ghost, Madeline O’Malley, a bride who hung herself on her wedding day. The movie starts out like a comedy, with the two slackers dealing with weird guests, including Leanne Rease-Jones (Kelly McGillis), an actress who starred in an eighties sitcom. Lena Dunham also has a bit part as a chatty barista in a scene that felt entirely disposable.
The movie gets more serious in the second half. Claire hears ghostly voices and the piano playing in the banquet room. The inn goes from a relatively friendly old place to a claustrophobic and dangerous old place.
clairehall
Claire confides in Leanne who is in town for a psychic convention. Her post-acting career is as a medium/healer. She warns Claire to stay out of the basement where Madeline’s body was allegedly hidden after she died.
What I dislike about some ghost movies is that the ending is usually too happy. At the end of Poltergeist they get Carol-Anne back and she’s fine (If you ignore the sequels.) I like the more contemporary ghost stories because the endings seem more bleak. It’s not ghosts banished forever and the family lives happily ever after. I think the one thing that The Innkeepers has going for it is that it has one of the bleakest endings I’ve ever seen in a ghost movie. Not only are secrets revealed about the characters but someone dies. It just seems really rare where there’s a haunting movie that has actual consequences for the character. Too often it feels like nothing is at stake.
There’s a part in the movie where Leanne asks Claire what she does and Claire’s response is something like, “I…work here.” The whole thing is incredibly awkward in a way that only people who work in retail can understand. I think this movie is supposed to be a commentary on aimlessness and how our choices in the present can affect our afterlife (If there is an afterlife.) Maybe if you don’t really have a purpose in this life you can be a horrifying ghost, I guess? The whole thing feels incredibly ham-handed.
This movie felt incredibly disjointed and that keeps me from recommending it wholeheartedly. The first half was lighthearted and funny, mostly dealing with the weirdos that Claire and Luke encounter. The second half focuses more on the haunting. There are some good creepy moments that I didn’t screen cap because I want people to be surprised if they decide to see it. The movie opens up with historical pictures of the Yankee Pedlar Inn (Which is actually a real place in Torrington, Connecticut. These pictures are almost scarier than any of the ghost scares in the movie.

See this picture?  It's creepy.  If only the rest of the movie were this creepy.

See this picture? It’s creepy. If only the rest of the movie were this creepy.


I think the main problem with the movie is that Ti West wrote, directed, and edited the movie. Sometimes you need to step away from a project and let someone else see it with fresh eyes. Instead, he went the Tommy Wiseau* route and it shows. My other major problem are the performances. The acting gets better towards the second half but the first half felt stilted and phony. I really dislike saying this because I want to support the movie and the actors but I have to be honest. Claire and Luke’s speech patterns feel so weird and forced.
On the plus side, the movie has some of the creepiest music I’ve heard since The Eclipse. This definitely works and helps with some of the later scares, especially when Claire ignores Leanne and goes into that damn basement or when Claire’s alone in her room.
I honestly wish that this movie could have been split into two movies. One could be a buddy comedy about slackers working at an inn and the other one could be all the ghost parts. This movie suffers because of the two mismatched parts.
*The notorious writer, director, editor, and star of the hilariously awful movie The Room.

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About scarina

I like scary movies a little too much. I thought I'd share my obsession with you.
This entry was posted in 21st century, ghosts, supernatural and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Innkeepers

  1. Crypticpsych says:

    This is kinda why I haven’t seen The Innkeepers yet. Unlike House of the Devil (which I haven’t seen either but badly want to and own), I never really saw glowing reviews for Innkeepers, only very faint praise. I’m sure it’s not a horrible movie or anything, it’s just everything I’ve heard makes it seem like it’d be too slow for my tastes.

    • scarina says:

      The opening was so slow and the awkwardness of the acting just made it feel slower. Then, the lack of scares did nothing to its credit. I imagined a scary ghost movie set at an inn on my walk home that is probably more frightening than anything that happened in this movie.
      -The movie opens w/ historic pictures of an old inn. It’s Claire’s first night as a bartender at Ye Historic Inn. She’s putting a glass back up on one of those rack jams. 30 secs. later it crashes down. She laughs and goes to clean it up. The older bartender says “Things like that happen here a lot” but won’t elaborate. We see a week passing & weird things happen. One of the Hispanic line cooks quits b/c of something int he basement. We see lights turning on and off and chairs that were stacked on tables end up on the floor. Finally, the Wiccan waitress who becomes Claire’s friend (Every ghost movie needs a Wiccan) tells her the story of Mary Miller. The scene dissolves, possibly becomes an animation. Mary Miller was a young woman in the 18th century, poor but of good breeding, set to marry a well-to-do young man. The night of their wedding, there’s a party at Ye Historic Inn. She goes missing! Nothing is ever found of her but her head. She’s been scalped. The village takes brutal revenge on the remaining Lene Lenape tribe nearby. Claire is a psychology student & wants to investigate the haunting. The boss is cool w/it b/c hauntings bring tourists. Wicca girl, Claire, a psychic friend of Wicca girl, and one of Claire’s college friends stay the night. Things escalate and they all wind up in the scary basement. Psychic friend has a vision and it’s what really happened. This isn’t animated but may be sepia toned. Mary was having an affair with the groom’s best friend and promised to leave the groom for him. Groom catches them the night of their wedding & smacks her. She hits her head and is killed. They panic, lop her head off and make it look like a scalping while hiding her body. They keep this secret to their graves but the team finds the groom’s diary where he confesses everything. They leave the inn at dawn, hopeful that they can find put Mary to rest. Claire steps into the bathroom in her home and starts getting ready to go to bed. The audience sees movement reflected in Claire’s mirror. The ghost has glommed on to her! Roll credits over people putting up missing person posters up with Claire’s face on it. The end.

  2. FRC Ruben says:

    Totally enjoyed this flick, for once a ghost movie where the ghost isn’t some douche bag trying to get some living schmuck to be all Columboey.

    • scarina says:

      But Columbo is never not good, even if he’s no Jessica Fletcher. True, that is a good point about this movie. Also, no rotating fan camcorder.

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