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West’s low-key horror offers scares and laughs

Pat Healy and Sara Paxton image The Innkeepers
Pat Healy and Sara Paxton in The Innkeepers.

The Innkeepers movie review

This is a terrific little horror flick. I used the adjective “little” not to demean but to denote the film’s low budget, its lack of reliance on special effects and its emphasis on character.

Writer/director Ti West smartly focuses on Claire and Luke. As Claire. Sara Paxton is so natural that I wanted to believe that she had just been discovered behind the till of a record store (she’s actually been acting since she was eight). She and Luke are two twentysomething hipsters manning the front desk of the Yankee Pedlar Inn, in Connecticut, on a long weekend. 

The Innkeepers movie poster
The Innkeepers directed by Ti West (2011).

Lena Dunham (Girls) is cast in a minor part. Kelly McGillis (Top Gun, The Accused) is one of the few guests at the Yankee Pedlar. The film offers plenty of good scares but West is most effective at building tension, only to relieve it with a laugh at his characters’ expense. Up to a point.

Ultimately The Innkeepers‘ success is due to being just what it implies. It’s a movie about two bored innkeepers who enjoy scaring each other a little too much. We are left wondering what happened, what was real and what wasn’t. Certainly, the movie’s charm is.

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