The Innkeepers

Claire and Luke, played by Sara Paxton (Last House on the Left) and Pat Healy, are working their final shifts at the Yankee Pedlar Inn before it closes and is demolished. With the owner away and only a couple of guests, they decide to investigate the hotels haunted past and the ghost story of Madeline O’Malley. It’s not long before the pair begin to witness unexplainable and disturbing happenings in the old hotel.

The Innkeepers is written and directed by Ti West, who also brought us the surprise 2009 favorite, House of the Devil. In fact, while shooting House of the Devil, West and the crew stayed in a creepy hotel in Torrington, Connecticut, called The Yankee Pedlar, which inspired the venue in this movie.

Initially, The Innkeepers focuses on the relationship between the two leads, Claire and Luke. Their characters are believable and have an infectious rapport, it is easy to care about them very early on in the story, Sara Paxton does an incredible job playing the optimistic and charming Claire. The camera work and sound design combine old school techniques with polished, modern production making the movie look and feel fantastic throughout. The effects are simple but effective, excluding the ghost of Madeline O’Malley, which is terribly bland and generic.

The first half of the film could be easily mistaken as an extremely dry horror comedy, but the second half becomes very scary, very quickly. The dramatic change in pace and tone of the film is particularly drastic and in a way it feels as if you are watching two halves of different films. However, it’s been done exceedingly well, and I suspect most will enjoy the gentle simmer that escalates to a sudden and intense ending.

It’s likely to be slow off the block for some, and a little clumsy in places, but overall it’s a highly likable and enjoyable movie with some genuinely scary moments.

Our Rating: 6.7 / 10


  1. You don’t accidentally have a list of the best (or all) horror movies? Since I love them and want to make my friends sit through them with me, it would be nice with a list…or if you have recommendations as to which one to start out with…

  2. Creature, thanks for the “likes” at my blog…i appreciate it, and while i’m not big on the “horror” genre, i think you’re performing a great service for those who are. continue…

  3. Good write up! I enjoyed this film, I reviewed it as well. I totally understand what you mean about the duality of the film. I really enjoyed the 2 leads as well. Good post, my man.

  4. this time i’ll have to disagree with you, 7 is too high! i really hated this film, which is weird because usually it’s the kind of horror i love. i thought it was boring as hell, with no rhyme or reason and the end came too quickly.. or too suddenly, there was no climax at all (at least from my point of view). only thing i really liked was the attention to the design detail of the interiors, the sets and the photography were both very very good.
    in the end i just maybe feel like it (the fiim, the director?) wanted a little too much to be like a modern Shining, and didn’t succeed.
    my two cents that is 😉

    • I do see what you mean, I suspect you’ve got to be in the right mood for this movie – it walks a fine line. On a different day, I may not have been quite so generous with my rating. In fact, initially I believe I was going to give it around the 6 mark, I watched it some months before I wrote this review, yet oddly, The Innkeepers lingered with me, I found my thoughts flitting back to it from time to time, there is something about it I just found…whats the word… quaint, maybe, and a little bit quirky.

      Happy to take your money 😉

  5. Finally saw this one and was excited because I had seen House of the Devil only a few weeks prior. This one was not as good, but not horrible, kinda’ like a Sunday afternoon horror flick. I didn’t complain but it didn’t get me all that excited either. In comparison, I loved House of the Devil!

    • I’ve come to recognise just how subjective my reviews can be. I watched this in a packed theatre at a horror film festival, and then reviewed it. However, I have since watch it again, and although I still enjoyed it, if I’d written the review today I may be slightly less generous. How I feel, who I’m with and where I see the film effects my viewing experience. Although, I consider myself fairly level most of the time so I don’t think the variation would be more than +/- 1.

      Thanks for your comments 🙂

  6. I just saw it. The bedroom scene with the bed sheet gave me a heart attack. Great build-up, but I’m not too sure about the ending. Instead of walloping us over the head, it merely gave us a nudge. Still, not bad. I found it very… charming, if that’s the right word.

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