The Innkeepers (2012)

Never Skimp on Bread; You’ll Always Regret it.

When I went to Netflix instant stream list for horror movies, I really got myself overwhelmed with the selection of movies to pick from. There were lots of movies in there that I wanted to review, either because they were classics, because they looked good, or because they looked so bad that I wanted to make fun of them. While I was trying to decide, I noticed one that I had heard mentioned on Doug Benson’s podcast, Doug Loves Movies, a few times and it stuck in my mind while I perused the rest of the list. Eventually I relented and decided to watch The Innkeepers, written and directed by Ti West, and starring Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis, Brenda Cooney, George Riddle, and Lena Dunham.

Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) are two employees as the Yankee Pedlar Inn, a supposedly haunted hotel that is on the brink of closing due to inactivity. They decide to use the relatively empty hotel and their last couple of days in the hotel to hunt for ghost activity. Their main focus will be Madeline O’Malley, a woman who hanged herself when her husband abandoned her. They eventually start investigating the hotel and Claire recognizes a new guest of the hotel as Leanne Rease-Jones (Kelly McGillis), a former actress who now acts as a medium. She warns Claire to never go into the basement. Also, an old dude (George Riddle) comes to stay at the hotel. Then some stuff starts happening.

I sadly did not find myself enjoying this movie. I wouldn’t say it was bad per se, but it was just underwhelming. The biggest problem I took with the movie was that nothing happens for a really long time. I know I’ve liked some movies that take their time starting, or start off with tiny things that ghosts are doing, but this movie takes it one step further. It starts off with nothing. About halfway into the movie some tiny things start happening, and then shit starts to go down in the last 20 minutes. The first half of the movie was two shitty kids talking about their job and bitching about life, and then occasionally talking about ghosts. BOOOOOOORING! Do you think I want to watch the day in the life of some person’s menial job? Not with dialogue like this, I don’t. It was thoroughly unimpressive. I guess you could give it credit for being more realistic or something, but if all you’re showing me is 2 people doing their boring job then you’re going to have to offer me some interesting or funny conversation. None of that happened and the movie had thoroughly lost me before the interesting stuff started to happen. If I had jumped in at the halfway point, I probably would’ve liked it more. The ghost stuff in the movie was all stuff we’ve seen before, and none of it really broke new ground, but it worked well enough. I usually don’t like movies that rely too heavily on startling the audience, but I didn’t get irritated with it in this movie because they built the suspense better. One thing occurred to me as weird in the movie – and it’s something that’s happened in movies before – but why do people try to lock the door on ghosts? Is it not assumed that ghosts don’t recognize the boundaries of walls and doors? Well, Claire learns her lesson about this. I would also say that the conclusion of the movie was very unsatisfying for me. I’m okay with an unhappy ending, but you could at least show it to us. I had to rewind it to see if I missed something. Nope! They just assumed we could figure it out.

I suppose I’d say the performances in the movie were fine, but I can’t think of anything to say about any of them. They were fine, they didn’t blow my mind, they didn’t suck, they didn’t do anything particularly mock-able, and they didn’t get their boobs out. MOVING ON!

I was disappointed with The Innkeepers, but I respect that it tried. The dialogue was a little on the weak side and the movie took way too long to do anything of interest, turning it into the story of two boring people doing a boring job. Once the scares started towards the end of the movie I liked it, but it was too little, too late. If you can start watching this movie from the halfway point, I would say this movie would be pretty good. But since I’m reviewing the movie in its entirety, I say you can skip it. Just go to Netflix Instant Streaming, pick the movie, click the bar halfway, and enjoy otherwise. The Innkeepers gets “I’m not negative; I am a realist” out of “You want another beer?”

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