Buildings have memories. Houses, churches, hospitals, and hotels all hold echo’s of the past, reflections of events that have taken place between the four walls and when the walls talk often they tell tales of sadness, betrayal and fear.
This was definitely the experience of director Ti West who found himself and his crew staying in the Yankee Pedlar Inn in Connecticut while filming The House of the Devil and experiencing more supernatural phenomenon while at the hotel than he was creating in his own film.
Inspired by the environment, the freaked out crewmates stories of unexplained events and the tons of true life tales revolving around the haunted hotel he wrote The Innkeepers returning sometime later to film the whole thing in the Yankee Pedlar itself and creating a brilliant old school ghost story which blurs fact and fiction and is guaranteed to spook you as much as the place spooked West.
The Innkeepers of the title are Claire and Luke played by Sara Paxton and Pat Healy the desk clerks left in charge of the Yankee Pedlar Inn on its last weekend before being closed down.
Both bored beyond belief the pair are also convinced that the supernatural is alive within the walls of the hotel and with only one night left they set out to get proof however the hotel has its own evil agenda.
Building slowly and quietly The Innkeepers is the perfect antidote to the flash bang gore fest films that dominate or screens these days. Keeping things hidden Ti West spends time creating atmosphere, which heightens the fear to the point where it boils over bringing about some truly terrifying moments.
The story is brilliant made all the better by the excellent performances especially from the two leads Paxton and Healy who play a pair of unconventional characters that are extremely believable.
Paxton’s quirky enthusiasm counterbalances Healy’s nerdy grumpiness and the actors play off each other perfectly crafting a friendship between two people who have worked together so long they are quietly comfortable and fiercely loyal to each other no matter what.
Also worth mentioning is Top Gun’s Kelly McGillis who pops up as a psychic who helps the pair contact the other side however the real star of the film is the 119-year-old hotel lovingly filmed by West’s camera its outdated décor and eerie corridors coming alive figuratively and literally as another character with a story all of its own that it is desperate to tell to the characters trying to hear.
With tons of tension and some great jumps The Innkeepers is a supernatural horror, which takes its time, developing the scares and the story resulting in some wonderfully realistic characters all of which is filmed in a very real haunted hotel.
Now that’s done I’m off to book my summer holiday at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, anyone fancy coming with me?