The Yankee Pedlar Inn is going out of business. Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) are best friends, they’re the only employees left, and they kill time as ghost hunters. Luke is trying to promote an amateur paranormal website, and Claire supports him. Luke’s website is a failure, but Claire stumbles across a much needed breakthrough. During a routine experiment, Claire encounters a piano playing by itself. Eventually, Claire’s curiosity sparks an obsession for the ghost of Madeline O’ Malley. In the 1800’s, Madeline committed suicide after her husband abandoned her on their honeymoon, and Madeline’s body was buried in the basement of the hotel. Leanne Rease-Jones (Kelly McGillis) is a retired actress, and a hotel guest. As a medium, Leanne unravels the mystery of the haunting. Will Claire and Luke escape the wrath of Madeline’s ghost before it’s too late?
Ti West is one of my favorite directors. I LOVED The House Of The Devil and The Roost, and I’m one of the very few people, who actually liked Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever. West provides an essential chilling and eerie atmosphere, and he does a great job of building tension throughout this film. West kept the gore to a minimum here, and the limited approach actually works. The one scene of bloody gore is more than capable of providing a sickening and disgusted reaction, so anything on top of that would’ve been overkill.
Sara Paxton is the true star of this cast. Claire is a hyper geek with a good sense of humor. Paxton brings a strong sense of innocence to the Claire character, and she provides good laughs along the way. Luke might remind you of some loser, who stills lives with his parents, while working a dead end job. But along with Paxton, Healy provides the majority of comedy in this film, and Pat Healy really nailed the Luke character. Paxton and Healy form a very likeable duo, and the supporting cast provides a nice set of believable performances.
The Innkeepers features some funny moments, but as the story progresses, the tone for this film becomes a lot more serious. You can feel a strong sense of danger, as Madeline O’ Malley’s ghost terrorizes the remaining survivors. Ti West’s screenplay provides a nice balance of humor and horror, but this film never reaches a “too silly” point, where you can’t take the story seriously.
The Innkeepers doesn’t bring anything new to the horror genre, but I still enjoyed this film. The Innkeepers provides a spooky ghost story, and the tension slowly builds to an intense and frightening finale. Ti West gives horror fans some hope, as a writer and director, and I’m looking forward to his future projects.
Final Rating: 7/10