If you are looking for a good horror movie, don’t stop here.
THE INNKEEPERS (2011) I’ve seen this film a while ago and suffered a bit of lag trying to find the time to set it to pen and paper. Today, I had a bit more time to rewatch it, and now I am writing about a horror movie that lacks the much-needed shock value of every other psychological “thriller” teeming in the theaters lately. If I had one word to describe this film, it would be bonk. Bonk thrills and chills that come too far at the end. Since I know you won’t let me get away with a one-word review, I am forced to press on.
I am a fan of the old Twilight Zone television series, and I had high hopes for the film. Think about it: a century’s old inn that is in its last week of business; and the mysterious hauntings and ghost sightings’ babble within the small town was enough to keep the place running for a century more. This wasn’t the case for The Yankee Pedlar Inn, located in Connecticut that has 60 individual rooms, with private baths and the halls decorated with delicate wallpaper; period furniture just wasn’t good enough. Well, good enough for its two consistent occupants: Claire (Sara Pazton) and Luke (Pat Healy). But they had to be there–who else would hand out the bath towels and take out the trash?
The reputation of the Inn depends on being haunted by the old ghost of Madeline O’Malley, a jilted bride who hung herself there a bit after it opened in the late 19th century. It is Pat and Claire’s job to try and photograph or tape the ghost during the night shift. They have to do it quietly though–they had three guests with them at the Inn last weekend, and one of them just happens to be Leanne Rease-Jones (Kelly McGillis), former actress turned psychic adviser who is there because she heard about the ghost that inhabited the place and wanted to get in on the vibe “it” is putting out.
Slight props to Mr. West–the film mildly keeps you on your toes, but it’s pacing suffers. I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie that starts out this damn slow. You have two desk clerks discussing the history of the Inn and misadventures in trying to document verifiable evidence of the ghost of O’Malley for credibility. Attempting to coax the spirit out from wherever it was hiding just so they can capture it on film; to a third guest, an elderly man who wanted to keep his aged promise to the ghost, and it was never really clear why he was there other than speaking to the ghost of O’Malley while he was alone (long lost love) and you can pretty much guess what happens to him.
The overall “haunted inn” theme never actually permeates throughout the film. Instead, it eludes to the psychic’s premonitions about why they should not be there–and why the hell they aren’t getting out of there. The film looked good; the Inn held up to its spooky premise, and the acting performances were tolerable. Healy, Paxton, and McGillis played likable characters; however, they just were a little too laid back for my taste. Come on! I am thinking that these people are in a haunted inn and the company of the hellish supernatural, and the most suspense they could muster was Claire being the excitable fangirl and a conversation between her and Luke about what was the right kind of bread to use to build a sandwich.
It is unfortunate that the tone of the film isn’t quite there. Granted, the underlying suspense of what could happen lingers until the very end–I’ll admit, an unexpected end, however, once you get there you wonder what the hell was the point of the whole thing anyway.
Come stay at the Yankee Pedlar for a night you will never forget. On second thought, don’t.
Art and supplementary materials courtesy ©2011 of Magnolia Pictures. All rights are reserved.