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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The Last House on the Left (2009)

I have no idea why I decided to rent this movie. I generally think remakes are shit, I thought the original movie was shit, so perhaps I thought that would cancel itself out. Let’s see if it did, in today’s review of the remake of The Last House on the Left.

The Last House on the Left (with Sara Paxton, Monica Potter, and Riki Lindhome as the only names I recognize) is a horror movie remake about 2 girls (one of them being Sara Paxton) who meet a boy and go back to his hotel room with him looking for weed. Then the rest of his family show up (one of which is Riki Lindhome). Turns out they’re escaped criminals who are pretty well crazified. So they kidnap these girls and take ’em on a ride. Shortly after they pass by Paxton’s house (The titular last house on the left hand side of the road), Paxton burns Lindhome with the cigarette lighter from the car and tries to escape, which causes them to crash the car into a tree. Then the second kidnapee tries to run away, gets caught, and then gets stabbed for her troubles. Then they rape Paxton. Paxton is not fond of this and hits the main dude, Krug, with a rock. She runs off and climbs into the water to sacrifice herself to the mighty god Poseidon, and then Krug shoots her in the back and we are lead to believe that she dies here (as she did in the original). Next, the 4 kidnapper/raper/murderers find their way up to the final house on the northwestern side of the street. Turns out it’s Paxton’s parents (one of which is Monica Potter). The dad is a doctor and treats one of their broken noses and they set them up for the night in the guest house. After the kidnappers are all over there, the parents find that Paxton has dragged herself home. Soon they figure out that the 4 kidnappers are the cause of their daughter’s state, and they proceed to get their revenge.

So, I’m not sure why this movie received the critical reception it did. Not because it’s a good movie (it’s not), but because the original got much better reviews. The original was somewhere in the 80s on Rotten Tomatoes, and the remake was in the 40s. Both are crap, but the new one is slightly better crap. I’m not so sure why people give such credit to old movies, putting the band-aid of “camp” on them to explain why they’re stupid. In the first movie, the revenge the family took upon the killers for their daughter (who, as I said, died in the original) took the form of Home Alone style murder-pranks. I don’t remember all of them, but I do remember one involved slippery stuff on the floor and another was water on the floor and an electrified door knob. And this was their way of taking revenge for the RAPE AND MURDER OF THEIR ONLY DAUGHTER! It’s like Home Alone watched the original and said “How can we do this, but make it for kids?”

Now for the segment I like to call “Why you suck”, where I will detail stupid things that caught my attention in this movie. (Psst. That’s not actually what I want to name it, but I do like to point these things out) In the beginning of the movie one thing that made me laugh was that Paxton decides to take a swim in the pond and they play some metal-ass music over the top of a peaceful, uneventful scene of a girl swimming. Then, shortly after, they watch her get dressed for like a minute. I grant you she’s hot, but if you ain’t showing anything but her stomach and underwear, we can move on. Also, all the trouble starts when they meet the boy who apparently has a weed connection. How do they meet him? He tries to buy cigarettes from one of the girls but is underage. You trying to tell me this kid knows how to get weed but has no idea how to find a cigarette? When the daughter comes back towards the end, Dr. Dad operates on her to fix the gunshot, but it shows it like you’re actually watching an episode of ER. It just seems to go on and on and is boring. It’s not like she seems like she’s in danger of dying either. This is actually common in the movie. Every scene seems so drawn out, as if to create tension, but there’s nothing about this movie that made me tense. And the final death is the GOOFIEST thing I’ve seen on film. I won’t spoil it here, but I will if you ask me, and you’ll agree.

One of the biggest things I hate about this movie is it takes the things I hate most about 90% of horror movies: that they can’t muster up REAL chills and scares so they settle with some gore and old ladies slapping their hand on the window in a drawn out quiet scene. These things qualify as gross and startling, neither is scary. Also, they left out a scene from the first one where the mom leads one of the murderers away and starts to, shall we say, perform fellatio on him. Then she promptly bites his wang off. Come on, movie! That’s comedy gold! Also, when they kill the first guy (the same guy who SHOULD’VE been wang-less by the end of the movie), the parents look like they’re about to throw up, as if they’re disgusted at what they did. I don’t know about everyone else, but I think if I had the people that raped and shot my daughter, I’d probably do worse and be able to get a good night’s sleep that night.

The only positive thing I have about this movie (besides it being superior to the original) is that it is interesting, though not redeemable, that the first half of the movie is a horror film for the kidnapped girls, and the second half is a horror film for the kidnappers. I’d like to see that in a better movie I think.

And now, completely off topic, it was not until right before starting my review that I realized why I kept thinking that I recognized Riki Lindhome. It’s because she’s one half of Garfunkel and Oates, the comedy music duo. I became so sad when I found that out. And why? Because she had her titties out through half of her scenes in the movie. I just wanted to bring up this strange thing that happens to me in regards to hot actresses. Before they do a nude scene, I find myself very intrigued by the possibility of getting to see one. The second I get to see a nude scene, I feel my respect for her drain out and I’m not interested anymore. Now, they can still be respected (say, Julianne Moore, for instance), but it’s a long road to get there, and the nude scene had better be for a movie that is worthwhile and in a scene where it was necessary to the story. This movie Lindhome just walked into a room and basically said “THIS SHIRT IS SO DAMN STIFLING! I GOTTA LET THEM TITTIES BREATHE!” I still like you, Riki, but make better decisions in the future … like Kate Micucci! I haven’t seen her titties yet, so I’m still lookin!

So, the moral of this story is “don’t go trying to meet new people, or you’ll get raped and killed”. Words to live by. I give this movie a “If you have to watch one, pick this one. But you definitely do not have to watch one”. Out of negative 3.