From the director of The House of the Devil comes another horror movie that feels like it's ripped from another era, and like The House of the Devil, The Innkeepers doesn't deliver a complete package. Scary only in brief moments and obnoxious more than gripping, The Innkeepers is a dud of a horror flick, a waste of time.
Sara Paxton stars as Claire, an awkward and nervous young woman who works at an old, nearly empty hotel that is a week away from being shut down permanently. Along with her colleague Luke (Pat Healy), she has a fascination with the hotel's haunted past and is eager to make contact with its local ghost, a woman who died a long time ago. When a guest (Kelly McGillis) makes contact with the entity, Claire learns that what lurks below isn't your friendly neighborhood ghost.
In 2009, I wrote, "House of the Devil looks great and builds suspense brilliantly, but its climax is so disappointing it's not surprising that it never received a wider release." Strangely, with director Ti West's follow-up, the reverse is true: The Innkeepers has an adequate climax, but its buildup is horrendously boring.
The Innkeepers is plagued by many things, the least worrisome of which is the ghost that haunts the hotel. The characters are more annoying that interesting; Claire is wholly unremarkable; her coworker has potential, but lacks an arc; And Kelly McGillis... she brings nothing to the production. The movie takes forever to get going; by the time it does kick into gear, it's over. Nothing happens for over 90% the movie, which leaves little to be scary. And when the ghosts do start to make an appearance, they look like cardboard characters, immobile and as threatening as a high school student working at a Halloween haunted house.
Actually, I've been scared in haunted houses at Halloween, so scratch that.
The Innkeepers is a largely unsatisfying horror thriller that lacks scares, compelling characters or even a fully realized story. Ti West needs to change his formula soon, because it isn't working.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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