Film #257: THE INNKEEPERS
2.5 out of 5 stars
Writer/Director Ti West (HOUSE OF THE DEVIL) crafts this SLOOOOOOWLY-paced ghost thriller set in an about-to-be closed hotel. The film starts off with a kinda kooky sensibility as we get to know the two main characters (Sara Paxton & Pat Healy), but soon enough it gets down to business. The hotel has something of a history and the two (mostly out of boredom) begin their own ghost hunt. What hobbles the storytelling is West’s decision to slowly dole out character information in conversations set amidst looooong tracking shots down empty hallways. Thankfully, those kind of things are done subtly and they never become “gimmicky.” As the story plays out, West simply tries too hard to set so many plates a-spinnin.’ The other thing that I found weird was… after a long and slow laying out of the tale, then ending (the death, the wrap-up, etc.) suddenly shifts gears and seems rushed. Oh, and there are a couple of good makeups here (the ghost and the dead guy in the bathtub, particularly). So, in the end, THE INNKEEPERS is worth checking out for two reasons. Firstly, I dug the way West moves a camera (not as rigid as Kubrick, not as indulgent as Argento, and not as erratic as Raimi). And secondly, the film does indeed do the whole “slow rolling boil” pretty well, so “ghost story” fans may dig this more than I did. It’s fun and worthwhile from a filmmaking’s perspective, but by no means necessary viewing for the rest of us.