Ti West makes another phenominal horror film with The Innkeepers. A completely different feel from most modern horror movies, but completely terrifying if you let it be.
It's the final weekend of The Yankee Pedlar Inn. The boss has gone on a tropical island vacation and left two employees, Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy), to handle the last of the guests before it closes for good. Among the guests are a woman and her son, a nearly forgotten but once famous actress, and an old man visiting the place where he once honeymooned. Oh, and the place is supposed to be haunted.
Most horror films would hit you with a murder or a scare to start, but The Innkeepers just introduces you to Claire and Luke. They talk about the same stuff any two people who work together might talk about, and they discuss the haunting of the Pedlar. In their off hours, it seems, they like to wander the hotel and try to capture video or audio of the ghosts that may roam the halls. In particular, Madeline O'Malley, who died in the hotel long ago, hung herself, and the body was hidden in the basement. The two of them are going to just stay at the hotel through the final days, rather than go home each day, and try to get the final proof they need that the place is haunted before it closes forever.
This is a point where The Innkeepers deviates from other horror films. Our leads are beset upon by a monster or killer, and they don't accidentally wander into the path of death and terror, instead they willingly seek out these hauntings. In the wee hours, we follow Claire as she sits in various places with her recorder and microphone, listening for EVP (electronic voice phenomenon). She knowingly and purposely goes to the dark corners of the hotel and calls the spirits out.
Ultimately, the bulk of the film is no different than what you or I might do to ourselves, late at night, in an old hotel. There is no swinging machete or chainsaw, no bleeding walls. Just isolation and silence. Claire scares herself just as we might. At least until she goes against the warnings and the weekend takes a different turn. Even so, this isn't torture horror. The scares are the good old fashioned suspenseful kind, as opposed to the blood drenched shocking gore-fests determined to gross out the audience you get in plenty of other movies.
The Innkeepers works, just as well as Ti West's previous film The House of the Devil, which was also kind of fantastic. Both slow suspenseful build ups with frantic final payoffs. Well worth your time to watch it if you like truly scary movies.
The Blu-Ray includes a few extras. There is a simple Behind the Scenes featurette that reveals the cast and crew actually stayed in the real Yankee Pedlar Inn while filming there among other little details. There are also two full length commentaries on the film. The first is with director/writer Ti West, producers Peter Phok & Larry Fessenden, and sound designer Graham Reznick. The seconds is with Ti West again, but this time he is joined by stars Sara Paxton and Pat Healy. Both tracks are great if you enjoyed the film.
All in all, The Innkeepers Blu Ray is a great addition to any horror afficionado's collection.