Friday, January 18, 2013

Review: The Innkeepers

Editor’s note: Apparently, the Eddie Murphy movie “A Thousand Words” is NOT available on iTunes or any other legal source that I’m aware of, thusly I lied and I will not be watching it this week. Presenting, my back-up plan --- Ti West.  

Credentials: 79%, Certified Fresh ( // 5.6 out of 10 ( // 64 out of 100 (
                “It’s 90 minutes of watching two people actually keep an inn,” --- Joe, from the Bloody Good Horror podcast

Plot: The historic Yankee Pedlar Inn is closing its doors for good, and its last two employees, Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy), are determined to prove the place is haunted before it goes out of business. They’ve got one long weekend to find definitive proof of the supernatural, while also dealing with the hotel’s last remaining guests --- living and not so much. Dun dun duuuuuuun!

Thoughts: So yeah, Ti West, ladies and gentlemen.
                West’s film, “The House of the Devil,” was one of the first films I reviewed for this here blog, over two years ago. It was a torturous experience and I said back then that it “moved like a snail on a glue trap, only with much less purpose.” I stand by that.
                So it was with great interest that I viewed this more recent offering, great interest in this case meaning “morbid curiosity.”

Not bad acting, horrible script, failure to cut pointless stuff and it's super boring so I'll try to never watch it again

                And I’ve got to admit, “The Innkeepers” is less nightmarishly boring than “House of the Devil.” You can comfortably watch it after the sun sets without immediately falling into a deep sleep, something that couldn’t be said about “The House of the Devil.”
                I mean, the movie is still a chore to sit through --- it frequently gets bogged down in minor details that don’t have any bearing on the plot whatsoever, and it’s full of tangents that exist only to pad the run time up to feature levels --- but still, progress.
                There are some nice tense moments, especially in the third act when our heroes take to wandering around the hotel’s creepy, maze-like basement. Basements are always creepy stuff, man.
                But by far the movie’s scare of choice is LOUD NOISES!!!!!!!!!!!!! and lots of them. It’s like someone just explained to Ti West what “Sound Editing” was, because that man goes sick with the noises. Ear-splitting musical stings and sound effects are responsible for the vast majority of the movie’s scares. Sure that’s a super cheap, cop-out way to earn a scare, but hey, a man’s got to do, what a man’s got to do.   
                The acting is not terrible. Pat Healy seems to be channeling Mark Ruffalo’s character from “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” which is nice. Meanwhile, Sara Paxton is just cute and awkward enough to keep you interested in what’s going on, even when nothing really seems to be going on.
                The biggest thing working against “The Innkeepers” is West’s script. There’s just way too much filler. We spend way too much time on the hotel’s living guests, even though we could really do without any of them. Hell, a new guest checks in late in the second act, for no reason. “Hey, here’s a weird old guy, enjoy!”
                And there are long periods, where we really do just watch two people do a very crappy job of running a hotel. There’s a running "gag" (I use that term lightly) in here about how they keep forgetting to put towels in the guest rooms. It just keeps coming up. Again and again. Can’t say why.
                Another shortcoming is the ending. We already talked about the nice tense moments we had in the basement, after that we get some more cool stuff and then whoops, that’s it. Movie over. Hope you weren’t expecting a resolution or closure or anything like that.
                Maybe he ran out of film? Here’s a thought: Next time maybe skip the never-ending shots of two people sitting behind a desk looking bored. We get it, they aren’t interested in their jobs and neither is the audience, move on.

Worst of the Worst

            This one was pretty easy.
At one point, Claire decides to go get a cup of coffee from the place next door. She walks in and looks at the menu like it’s written in a foreign language. It’s not. The nice girl behind the counter offers to help her decipher said menu. Claire declines her help, then cracks a joke about one of the drink names. No one laughs. Then Claire proceeds to order a very specific, complicated-sounding coffee drink, leaving us to wonder why she was so confused about the menu to begin with. Anyway, the counter girl starts to make her drink, but then immediately stops and begins talking about how her and her boyfriend are going on a romantic getaway and she asks for Claire’s love advice, even though they don’t know each other. Claire winds up back at the hotel without coffee, and we’re left to assume she walked out on the annoying barista.       
My question?
Why the hell is this scene in your horror movie Ti West? What’s its purpose? I mean other than to bore me to tears? This is the stuff you’re supposed to cut!
So there it is, “The Innkeepers.” Sorry if you were expecting some Eddie Murphy nonsense. Blame iTunes. As soon as I can, I’ll get “A Thousand Words” up.
            Until then, bumblebee tuna.

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