The Innkeepers Blu-Ray Review -

The Innkeepers Blu-Ray Review

Mania Grade: B-

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  • Rated: R
  • Cast: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis
  • Written By: Ti West
  • Directed By: Ti West
  • Distributor: MPI Home Entertainment
  • Original Year of Release: 2012
  • Extras: See Below
  • Series:

The Innkeepers Blu-Ray Review

Ti West Short changes viewers on the ending

By Tim Janson     April 11, 2012

I find myself a bit torn in my opinion of The Innkeepers.  There’s a lot to enjoy but there’s also a fair amount to dislike about the film.  Director Ti West’s story about an aging New England Inn in its final week of operation has a tone unlike most horror films.  There are a lot of elements that don’t seem on the surface like they would mix together well, but the enjoyable cast makes the film eminently watchable.  
Claire (Paxton) and Luke (Healey) are a couple of twenty-something loafers who work at the Yankee Pedlar, a New England inn that is over a hundred years old.  With the owner on vacation, Claire and Luke are the only employees still working at the near-empty inn during its final week of operation.  With few guests to attend, and having to work 12 hour shifts the pair do what they can to amuse themselves and pass the time.  Fancying themselves amateur ghost hunters, they’ve setup a website to explore the legend of the Yankee Pedlar which is allegedly haunted by the spirit of a Madeline O'Malley, a woman who hung herself on her wedding day when her fiancé jilted her. 
As mentioned, The Innkeepers has a strange vibe to it.  The early part of the film has a good deal of comedy as the pair of Luke and Claire engage in various pursuits just to get through the day including drinking beer at the front counter, telling ghost stories to the young son of an annoying guest, just to get under her skin, and dealing with the wacky counterperson at the nearby coffee shop.  This, along with a slow pace doesn’t fit with what you expect out of a horror film.  The tone changes abruptly with the arrival of Leanne Reese-Jones (McGillis) a former actress turned psychic. 
As Claire explores the inn at night with recording equipment, looking to pickup some EVP (electronic voice phenomena) she encounters voices whispering within the walls and the playing of a piano in the front lobby.  A terrified Claire runs to Leanne for help.  The psychic uses her ability to channel the spirits in the inn and warns Claire to stay clear of the basement.  The arrival of an elderly guest who wants to spend one last night in the honeymoon suite completes the transition from slacker comedy to full-on horror culminating with Claire’s terrifying encounter with the inn’s spirits. 
I suppose it depends on your outlook as to whether The Innkeeper’s faults can be overlooked due to its positives or if it’s positives are neutralized by the faults.  West’s slow burn of a film develops the characters of Claire and Luke to the point where you can certainly relate to them.  The pair apparently have no prospects once the inn closes.  Claire’s redoubtable spunkiness drives much of the action.  Last seen in the horrible film “Shark Night”, Paxton appears here, sans tiny bikini and without make-up in a huge contrast from that film. There’s a brilliantly funny scene as she is trying to open a dumpster lid with one hand and toss in a leaky plastic trash bag for the other…that is just a little too heavy for her to lift with a single hand and avoid whatever noxious contents are spilling out of the bag.  The dialog sparkles with a casual wit.  You feel like you’re eavesdropping on a couple of real people when they are talking. 
But The Innkeepers has a major Achilles heel.  Too many questions are left unanswered at the film’s conclusion; so many, in fact, that I found myself re-watching scenes to see if I missed the “Shamalayan” moment.  What did Leanne really see when she channeled the spirits?  And what was with her strange staring out of her room’s window at the end?  For all of the development of the two leads, West is woefully short on any exposition when it comes to the spirits.  What are their motivations?  Why are they after Claire?  Why was it that Leanne’s arrival seemed to have triggered the spirit’s activity?  These issues prevent The Innkeepers from having the clean ending that most viewers desire.  But maybe that’s what West was going for all along. 
Blu-Ray Extras 
Two Audio commentaries: One with Writer/director/editor Ti West, producers Peter Phok & Larry Fessenden, and second unit director/sound designer Graham Reznick; and the second with Ti West and stars Sara Paxton & Pat Healy. 
Behinds the Scenes Featurette 



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MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 4/11/2012 3:29:31 AM


I don't think there were any spirtis ever. That guy lied about seeing them and Claire slowly started getting obsessed and ended up scaring herself to death. So to speak.


I think the actress felt bad for feeding Claire all that stuff about spirits. Having it fed into Claire's delusions.

tjanson 4/11/2012 10:20:54 AM



Jaw, Ya I was kinding of leaninig a bit in that direction myself except for the fact that when Luke and Claire were both down in the basement, something clearly scared the crap out of him to make him haul ass out of the Inn.  It's at that point he admitted that he had not seen anything previously but he certainly saw something at that point.

MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 4/11/2012 11:05:06 AM



I think there he just scared himself too.  The only reason I think that is because once a friend and I were doing the Bloody Mary thing in my bathroom.  We shut the lights and I locked the door - without telling him - and we were looking at the mirror and we said "Bloody Mary" three times.  I swear I saw something leap out of the mirror and he freaked out too. We were fighting each other to get the hell out there and I couldn't figure out the lock in the dark. Didn't even worry about trying to turn on the lights. By the end we were spilled out into the hallway panting calling each other pussies. Of course we didn't see anything ha, ha. But it's amazing what your mind can do. So - it was my theory that he had a minor version of what she had. It seems like he kind of fed it to her to impress her but then when she admitted to seeing stuff he was like "Ooh. Maybe there is something." And fed into her delusion which he originally fed her. But I dunno. 

tjanson 4/11/2012 12:05:46 PM

Could be...I may be getting an interview with Ti West so we'll see if he sheds any light on it.  But my other thing to make me think that it was more than just claires mind was how Leanne dropped her crystal in a panic and shattered it.  doesn't really fit in with the theory of just humoring claire.  Again...something freaked her out.

MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 4/11/2012 5:58:09 PM

Ah - I forgot about that part. Have to watch it again. Caught it OnDemand. Think I'll be buying this one later and House of the Devil. I can't believe he made these two great movies and then one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Cabin Fever 2. I think it was two.

VinJoy 4/13/2012 1:51:47 AM

 You know what my theory is? Maybe Ti West is the Michael Bay of horror movies and these "unanswered questions" are really plot holes.

noahbody 6/21/2012 4:33:57 PM

Wow whay a crap film! Don't waste your time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



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