Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Innkeepers

After making a name for himself with The House of the Devil, a throwback to 80s Satanic cult horror films, director Ti West turned his attention to ghosts with The Innkeepers. Set in a New England hotel, the film follows two 20-somethings about to lose their jobs as hotel clerks due to the hotel’s upcoming closure. Rather than provide competent service to their guests, they choose to hunt for ghosts. Much like the humans searching for them, these ghosts can barely be bothered to do anything of substance, as the film takes its sweet time in getting to the spooky stuff. Is this an exercise in building tension, or the mark of a boring movie? Check into the Yankee Pedlar Inn with the nanobots to find out.
  • This film was shot on location at a (supposedly) haunted hotel. = +10pts 
  • Claire and Luke have the greatest job ever; little work and they can take shifts napping in cool hotel rooms. = +8pts 
  • Claire acts like she’s never seen a screamer video before and Luke’s website was built in Angelfire. Is this a late '90s period piece? = +9pts 
  • Claire is excited about the prospect of recording a ghost. Claire is doomed. = +4pts 
  • Getting to geek out to your idol while she’s wearing nothing but a towel is a rare fan achievement. = +4pts 
  • Before she played a barista on GIRLS, Lena Dunham played the local barista in The Innkeepers. = +4pts (For being the brewer of her generation.) 
  • Apparently, this barista is even less self-aware than Hannah Horvath. = -5pts 
  • “IM”? Yep, totally a late '90s period piece. = +5pts 
  • “Quarter-life crisis.” = -5pts 
  • Porn and ghosts are the only things Luke cares about. = +3pts 
  • If you’re gonna do exposition, telling it to an impressionable kid in the form of a creepy ghost story is definitely the way to go. = +10pts 
  • Generic jilted woman origin story. = -4pts 
  • Wait, are the ghosts stealing all the towels? = -3pts 
  • “I don’t spend my time trying to figure out what women want. Especially dead ones.” That’s why you’re alone, Luke. = -4pts 
  • If Claire gets this freaked out by non-paranormal activity, maybe ghost hunting isn’t the right career path. = -6pts 
  • “Enjoy your internet porn.” Oh, like you’ve never indulged a little bit, Claire? = -4pts 
  • The obviousness of what’s going to happen doesn’t make it any less unsettling. = +6pts 
  • For someone who runs a ghost hunting website, Luke cares surprisingly little about actually hunting ghosts. = -4pts 
  • Leanne says that pendulums are used to answer life’s difficult questions. We were unaware that “what time is it” was a “difficult” question. = -5pts 
  • Leigh needs to start a podcast called Spirits & Spirits, in which she talks to ghosts while drinking vodka. = +6pts 
  • Again, holding on Claire while nothing is happening makes it obvious that something is going to happen. But the drawn out shots makes the something very effective. = +9pts 
  • A mysterious old guest demanding a specific room in a haunted hotel? What kind of shit ghost hunters are these if they don’t question his connection to the ghosts? = -6pts 
  • Now the creepy guest is referring to the hotel as a place like home. ASK HIM ABOUT GHOST SHIT! = -3pts 
  • Drinking and haunting. = +4pts 
  • Luke flirts like a high school guy trying to get to second base. = -5pts 
  • “Let’s go to the basement and find out what that fucking ghost’s problem is.” Maybe it’s being referred to as a “fucking ghost?” She has a name, you know. = +6pts
  • Mere minutes after awkwardly trying to hit on Claire, Luke adopts the George Constanza method of saving himself. = +7pts (for keeping the classics alive) 
  • Vodka helps Leanne get in touch with the paranormal. = +5pts 
  • We understand wanting to kill yourself in a place that holds personal significance, but doing it in a hotel, where underpaid cleaning staff will have to clean up after you, is just inconsiderate. = -8pts 
  • Now this is putting your ghostliness to good use. Just because you can’t touch someone doesn’t mean you can’t be scary. = +15pts 
  • We’re not sure what it is, but there’s just something about a ghost bride that is inherently creepy. = +5pts
The Innkeepers is not for people looking for non-stop terror. West takes his time and lets the creepy factor build up until the tension becomes unbearable. The film relies heavily on offscreen scares and playing with audience expectations. West knows that we are trained to expect certain things at certain times and either intentionally fails to deliver or waits until we think he won’t deliver. As a result, West pulls off a chilling film without relying on many jump scares or gory effects. (There are a few of those, though.)

Total Score = +47pts
Available on: Netflix, DVD

Score Technician: Andrew Daar

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