Tuesday, January 3, 2012
The Innkeepers (2011)
Ti West's The House of the Devil was a Retro Horror Movie surprise. His latest, The Innkeepers, continues some of that retro feel while incorporating it's own point of view and sense of humor. I enjoyed the Film's attention to details (the opening credit sequence especially) and West's admirable attempt at delivering a Supernatural Horror Film that delivers some chills while being grounded in it's world of twenty-something slackerdom.
The Innkeepers does fumble with it's tone. It's sometimes overly meandering, other times manic. House Of The Devil was a bit more consistent until it's batshit crazy finale. The quirky humor here was welcome from time to time, mostly due to it's leading lady, Sara Paxton. She's great and extremely likable, and ends up totally blowing her co-star (Pat Healy) off the screen anytime she's partnered with him (which is most of the time). The Film is also boosted with the presence of 80's star Kelly McGillis, grounding the film just when the potential silliness of the Supernatural starts to kick in. She may not be able to take Tom Cruise's breath away anymore, but the bitch will cut you with an arched eyebrow.
Haunted House/Hotel/Whatever stories of this kind will always have you talking back to the screen with sentences that go something like this: GET OUT OF THE HOTEL!... DON'T GO IN THERE!... DON'T YOU DARE GO IN THE BASEMENT!... LEAVE ALREADY!... But it's characters never listen. Ti West understands his audiences expectations and instead of completely defying them, he nimbly plays along with the game. You can never leave a Haunted House. Once you do, the Movie is OVER. West's camera is also pretty assured here. Lots of creepy zooms and tracking shots, building tension and suspense in both expected and unexpected places. It's so welcome to see a Filmmaker in the Horror Genre who not only actually cares about such things, but is actually good at generating them (recalling John Carpenter's workmanlike 70's Films) and also isn't completely opposed to the idea of a cheap shock or two. Horror Films are supposed to be fun, right?
While The Innkeepers will inevitably be considered a letdown after the entirely excellent The House Of The Devil, I couldn't help but feel it's still miles above most other Films I've seen in the genre in the last 2 or 3 years since that Film (though Last year's Insidious is still TOPS in my book, Supernatural Horror wise) INN is especially effective if you enjoy Horror Films that rely more on their setting and characters instead of whatever else is considered fashionable these days in the genre but is ultimately empty and pointless. This is a Picture that will probably grow on you more in multiple viewings, and I look forward to watching it again in the future. This might sound weird, but watching that poor girl struggle so much to put a bag of garbage in a big, clunky dumpster was quite fun to watch.
The Innkeepers was made available to watch On Demand starting on December 30th, and will also be in theaters for a limited engagement on February 3rd.