The Yankee Pedlar Inn has been open for over one hundred years, but due to the economy, the inn’s about to close for good. During its last weekend, the owner leaves for a vacation, leaving his two employees, Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) to run the hotel. Both Luke, a college drop-out, and Claire have little purpose in their lives and aren’t sure what they’ll be doing to pay their rent once the weekend is over. However, they’re determined to capture proof that the inn, long rumored to be haunted, is being visited by the ghost of Madeline O’Malley, a woman who killed herself in one of the guest rooms over a hundred years ago after being left at the alter. The two employees are joined by the last three guests at the inn, one of which is Leanne Rease-Jones (Kelly McGillis), a former actress turned spiritual advisor, aka psychic.
The film was written, directed, edited, and co-produced by Ti West, who gained a great deal of popularity with his previous horror films, especially The House of the Devil. The Innkeepers, however, won’t be remembered for his best effort.
The movie has a great deal of positives. The characters of Claire and Luke are very detailed and well developed, and this is the result of not only West’s characterization but also of Paxton and Healy’s excellent acting. The dialog is spot-on, interesting, and at times, quite funny. This is a horror movie with some wonderful comedic moments. The setting and atmosphere are also first rate, and several scenes were actually shot in the real Yankee Pedlar Inn in Torrington, Connecticut.
The problem lies in the pacing. The movie is separated into three acts, and in the first act, absolutely nothing ghost-related happens. Nothing. The scenes consist mostly of dialog between Claire and Luke, and while the conversations allow the viewer to learn a great deal about the characters, very little actually happens. In fact, not much happens at all until halfway through the movie when Claire decides to get serious about ghost hunting. Actual ghosts don’t appear until the third act, and sadly, the ending is such a confusing disappointment that you realize the film wasted all of its potential.
Because the first half of the movie has few scares, no ghosts, and far too much time spent on character development, I’m afraid most horror fans would be seriously bored. The Innkeepers became available via On Demand in December and will be shown in select theaters starting February. But this movie isn’t worth the full price of an admission ticket, and even if one is intrigued by the previews, there aren’t any special effects that make it necessary to see it on the big screen. For the die-hard ghost fans or for those who like some comedy with their horror films, either watch The Innkeepers On Demand or save it for a Netflix rental.
Official website: The Innkeepers.
The Innkeepers Facebook page with contest and exclusive content.