I became a fan of director Ti West ever since I saw his debut film, House of the Devil, back in 2010. The movie was about a babysitting gig gone wrong, and the way West made it was superb. When I heard that he had a new movie coming out, The Innkeepers, I was, of course, excited to eat it all up. Sarah Paxton has proven herself to be a good actress, so I decided to watch this movie.
The Innkeepers is one of the few horror movies that can make some people sleep through the first half. It has a slow-burn first act, where we get to meet normal people and their normal lives doing their normal jobs. But then creepy things start occurring, and said normal people decide to investigate, and end up being given more than what they came there for. It’s very formulaic, but the reason why I think it works is because you don’t really see it done that much nowadays. The characterization of the two leads is just amazing. We are given extremely long scenes of them doing their menial work, and this I think is the reason why some people dislike this film. Expecting to see a straight-up horror movie, they are instead faced with a slow burning one. However, I think that’s what makes this film even more noteworthy: it knows it’s different, and so it presents itself differently from most horror movies out there.
I like how the film dealt with the reactions and decisions of the normal people when faced with something that’s quite out of their circle of what they deem is normal. Do they try to fight it? Or do they try to assimilate it with their own lives (sidebar: whenever I hear or say the word assimilate, and image of The Thing always pops into my head)? The film also reminded me of (I’m sorry) an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, wherein she tries to save a girl who has been having reoccurring visions that she will die soon, only to die in Buffy’s arms of heart failure. The same thing happens in the movie. Sara Paxton’s character dies not from a ghost’s actions, but from her own asthma attack. The psychic, when asked by Luke near the end of the movie, said that there was nothing that they could have done. This, I think, best sums up the movie’s main point of having the characters deal with abnormal situations, and the fact that sometimes, there’s really so much that you can do. There are events in our lives which we will never gain control of, especially death. Director Ti West seems to have a penchant with these kinds of movies, and I’m sure he’ll be doing even better ones in the future.
Sara Paxton, on the other hand, has proven herself to be a capable actress. Who would have thought she could go this far? The first time I saw her was in Aquamarine and boy, did that blow. She has won me over in The Last House on the Left, wherein she portrayed Mari, the girl left for dead. Finally, The Innkeepers is a horror movie that is worth watching, if you’re really into horror films, like me. This movie is all about subtlety, as emphasized by the last scene in the movie, wherein we are presented with Claire’s former hotel room, and her pale ghostly silhouette looking out the window and then looking directly at the camera until the door slams shut.