The Innkeepers movie review – Toronto After Dark Film Festival

Sara Paxton and Pat Healy in Ti West’s The Innkeepers
Oct 27 2011- Tonight we attended screening of The Innkeepers at the Toronto After Dark (TAD) Film Festival. If you have not yet read our preview of the films showing there, we highly recommend spending a few minutes looking at the overview of the lineup.
Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) work in a grand old hotel that is scheduled to shut down after one final weekend in which the movie’s events take place in. Claire and Luke are the only staff left and there are just 4 guests staying there the final weekend. The hotel is rumored to be haunted by an old maid Madeline O’Malley who died there many years ago. In fact, Luke even runs a website that documents the sightings. The movie is set in three chapters and one epilogue which all have a different feel. The chapters really tie the movie in together nicely. Chapter 1 focuses on some character development primarily letting us know who Claire and Luke are and what the background of the hotel is. Chapter 2 gets a bit weird with some preliminary superanatural occurences but nothing that can be classified as scary. Chapter 3 – the shit hits the fan and this is where things get really scary. The epilogue just ties things up and closes off the movie.
What can be said about the movie is that it has a very slow deliberate pace. West does not rush out the scares unlike Hollywood’s big budget scare flicks that rely on the formulaic jump out of your seat tactics. The viewer is urged to get to know Claire and Luke, and more importantly forced to like them. The movie felt like a Hitchcock classic or even a long Twilight Zone episode. If you want to jump out of your seat every five minutes this is not the movie for you. If however you are willing to sit through an hour of character development with very little supernatural action you will be handsomely rewarded in the last half hour. I really liked this movie and there is even a bit of a mystery in it that might warrant a second viewing. During the movie we are notified there are three spirits in the hotel but as things progress we only bear witness to two. Where was the third ghost? (West assures us it is there in the Q&A he did not forget about it or anything)
Ti West – the director of The Innkeepers
The director was in attendance after the screening to take Q&A (video of the Q&A is below). What we find out that was really cool is that the hotel where this movie was filmed is a real (and supposedly haunted) hotel in Connecticut called the Yankee Pedlar. West and his cast stayed there when they were filming The House Of The Devil. While filming Devil they all sensed weird things at the hotel and West claims he had vivid dreams every night he stayed there. This led to the realization that the hotel would be a good set for another movie and that is how The Innkeepers was conceived. The movie will begin showing in cinemas on February 3 2012.  I strongly recommend this movie if you get a chance to see it. Note – the TAD film festival is over for this year, but next year get out there and support good independent movies and follow their Twitter for updates.
VERDICT: Very good Hitckockian style ghost thriller, just dont expect scares every 5-7 minutes. 7 out of 10.

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