Annette Kellerman Reviews THE INNKEEPERS!!
Director Ti West is the new master of the slow burn. In his last
feature, HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, I adored every deliciously drawn out,
suspensful moment. Now, please don't get me wrong- I've written in
the past about my infinite love for splatter. I've always had total
respect for over the top effects whether its in a Troma flick or from
an Italian master, yet my hat is always off to a director who can put
me on the edge of my seat without all the overt gore.
Also, when I use the term "slow burn," I mean that as a total
compliment. With THE INNKEEPERS, Ti West yet again expertly lingers in
every creepy moment with terrific success. Many of you have likely
already heard the premise- the film follows the antics of the last two
remaining employees of a financially struggling historic hotel during
its last weekend of operation. The hotel may or may not be haunted,
and the duo is determined to find evidence of the former before the
business' certain demise. A simple premise, sparse casting, and a
single location all add to the feeling of isolation and the overall
In addition, "slow burn" in NO WAY equals boring. Quite to the
contrary- THE INNKEEPERS is not only a consummate creep fest, but it
also revels in the light hearted moments as well. The excellent
characters are very well developed, and the various dynamics are fully
fleshed out. You really get to know the two main characters portrayed
with believable ease by actors Sara Paxton and Pat Healy. The
playfulness of their flirty yet strictly platonic relationship is
delightful, and I breathed a great sigh of relief as West steered them
away from the usual obligatory relationship and T and A. In fact,
maintaining the almost childish dynamic between the two served as an
aptly innocent backdrop to the white knuckle suspense the rest of the
In the spirit of the great VHS horror of my youth, the film feels
nostalgic to me without treading into campy territory whatsoever. Ti
West has an amazing ability to nod at all of our faves from the 70's
and 80's without a direct shout out, or even worse, a blatant rip
off. Though I wouldn't dream of spoiling the end, I will admit that
West's methodical build of tension crecsendos to a climax that not
only satisfied, but also surprised me.
Out of all the films at this fest, THE INNKEEPERS is the one that has
stuck with me the most.
Well, SXSW is finally winding down, and I plan to check in a few more times with some more reviews from the fest.
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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March 22, 2011, 10:45 a.m. CST
On a serious note... I LOVE big boobs!!!
March 22, 2011, 10:48 a.m. CST
otherwise your gay FIRST post would pigeonhole you as a homosexual.
March 22, 2011, 10:49 a.m. CST
saw it at SXSW. really enjoyed every second.
March 22, 2011, 10:52 a.m. CST
voices, hearts and hands.
March 22, 2011, 10:55 a.m. CST
it had great potential, and only a few lures kept me mildly interested. I nearly turned the fucking thing off. I liked the look and the autumn setting. When the best part of your horror movie is the chick dancing to ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER.........you might have a slow burner. When your best special effect is Tom Noonan....you might have a slow burner. When old Jeff Foxworthy jokes are better than your movie........you might have a slow burner.
March 22, 2011, 10:57 a.m. CST
you might have a slow burner.
March 22, 2011, 10:57 a.m. CST
March 22, 2011, 10:57 a.m. CST
March 22, 2011, 11:10 a.m. CST
you might have a slow burner.
March 22, 2011, 11:12 a.m. CST
March 22, 2011, 11:21 a.m. CST
March 22, 2011, 11:33 a.m. CST
...that in this age of tech, how we're all connected and with various controls and filters available, a site can't implement some sort of feature that electrocutes - via the users own keyboard - any and all nimrods who still find it amusing and clever to do the "FIRST!" thing. Seriously...whoever invents that will be my hero.
March 22, 2011, 1:07 p.m. CST
It won't, but it needs to. Because I want to see it in the theatre and give Ti West theatre money.
March 22, 2011, 4:25 p.m. CST
House of the Devil was fantastic, definitely wanna see this guy get a wider audience.
March 22, 2011, 4:42 p.m. CST
That movie had excellent performances, pitch-perfect cinematography, sound, and editing, and it created the feel of a long forgotten (but very, very good) 80's horror film better than I even thought possible. Even the film stock itself, he somehow managed to get the period look without it feeling like someone trying to get 'the look'. In other words, it didn't feel pushed and pulled around in the D.I., it just felt like it was unearthed from a time capsule. I didn't think it was up there with the great horror films, but I thought it was miles better than all the other shit both Hollywood and the indie world serves up. Adam Green gets a lot of attention for Hatchet (total pos) and Frozen(some great scenes, but mediocre overall), yet Ti West BURIES him when it comes to pure cinematic talent. Also, I wish more horror directors would worry about creating tension in the frame and inducing fear in the viewer without resorting to showing people getting chopped in half, skinned alive, infant rape, achilles heels being sawed into, having boiling water poured on them... I feel like between Hostel(s), Martyrs, Serbian Film, and Ichi the Killer I've seen nearly every atrocity possible without ever taking anything of value away from the experience except thinking, "Fuck, I hope I never go through something like that." I don't even think to myself, "Wow, people can be really cruel to each other," because they're made up bullshit scenarios that feel like a director crying to get some attention. I GET IT, PEOPLE CAN BE CRUEL TO EACH OTHER, now tell me a story that justifies seeing that shit that isn't based on the Congo, the Rape of Nanking, the Inquisition, or the Holocaust. I've even seen some of Philosophy of a Knife and, though it's based on actual events, felt it was done for the same reasons as all those other movies. I'm never really scared, just grossed out or slightly disturbed... to me, the torture is like what Scorsese once said about sex in a movie - it has to have an extremely good reason for being there, otherwise it stops the movie dead in its tracks. Which is why the porn comparison is apt. Directors like Ti West make me wish it was fucking daylight if I watch them at night (just like The Changeling, Rosemary's Baby, The Shining, Halloween, etc.), a feeling I didn't get from Martyrs, Hostel, Inside (though that one is actually an interesting film) and, even though it's not really a horror movie, Serbian Film.
March 22, 2011, 4:50 p.m. CST
As far as House of the Devil-esque 80's flicks go? Preferably on Netflix Instant? I'm itching for some new (good) horror movies to watch this week.
March 22, 2011, 4:51 p.m. CST
Tom Noonan gave one of the most unsettling performances of recent memory in that movie. The second he opened that door and started talking I started getting weirded out.
March 22, 2011, 5:49 p.m. CST
well, first I must say that...I will be checking out HotD tonight on NetFlix instant watch. After reading the last 10 post or so...I feel like this movie is all me. Besides those classics some already mentioned: Changeling, Shining, Halloween, Rosemary's Baby, the Omen and the Exocist)...I aslo recommend: Don't Look Now (great creepy atmosphere, slow burner with a great payoff). And i suppose the Tenant has it's moments too. The Ring is good. As far as horror of late...really enjoyed: Behind the Mask:The Rise of Leslie Vernon, and also: Severance (both fun...not really creepy, but better than Hostel and Hatchet by far) hmmm, what else? Session 9 is worth your time. (lights out)
March 22, 2011, 7:47 p.m. CST
I enjoyed it more than House Of The Devil. Also features Tom Noonan.
March 22, 2011, 8:42 p.m. CST
Session 9 has been on my list for a while....as has Lake Mungo, I've heard good things about that as well. Watched Candyman and In the Mouth of Madness the last two nights....let down a bit by Candyman but Mouth of Madness was interesting.
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