Blu-ray | DVD
Directed by Ti West
Written by Ti West
Starring Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis, George Riddle, Brenda Cooney, Alison Bartlett
Dark Sky Films/MPI Media Group
Release Date: April 24, 2012
A Ghost Story for the Minimum Wage
The Yankee Pedlar Inn of Torrington, Connecticut, offers 60 individual bathrooms with private baths, each adorned with stenciled walls and period furniture and restored with the most modern of conveniences.
Since 1891, The Yankee Pedlar has been known for gracious hospitality and homegrown warmth. It also has a reputation for being haunted.
From filmmaker Ti West (The House of the Devil) comes The Innkeepers. Believed by many to be one of New England’s “most haunted hotels,” The Yankee Pedlar is about to shut its doors for good. As the Inn’s final days draw near, the remaining employees – Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) – set out to uncover proof of its haunted past.
The Innkeepers is a gothic ghost story in the tradition of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist, with a couple of hopeless geeks turned minimum wage ghost hunters on the case of Madeline O’Malley, the woman who died in Room 353.
If you’re unfamiliar with Ti West, the writer-director-editor has a unique, slow burn style that pays tribute to the classic horror films on the 1970s and ’80s. The Innkeepers is a quirky, humorous throwback to haunted-house thrillers that puts character and atmosphere first. Don’t expect to see the mindless killing of naked coeds or Jigsaw-esque death traps awaiting the hotel’s guests.
Paxton is perfect as the bookish, enthusiastic Claire – eager to spend the night in haunted hotel rooms and document paranormal activity. Healy is the dry, kind of creepy 30-something hotel employee who spends his time looking up real-life hauntings and investigation techniques instead of fetching guests clean towels.
The Innkeepers looks gorgeous on Blu-ray, with a color palette that is both subdued and unsettling – faded with time, stained with the lives of so many who have passed through The Yankee Pedlar’s haunted halls. Ti West’s signature cinematic voice brings a sense of weight and dread to the film’s movement – long dolly shots following Claire and Luke through the hotel’s labyrinthine corridors build suspense and paranoia.
If you haven’t had the privilege of watching West’s 2009 breakthrough film, The House of the Devil, then I highly recommend picking both of these inspired horror films up on Blu-ray (or DVD, if you’re still living in 2002) and enjoy some of the best original horror being made right now. Support independent, original cinema before it’s too late.