Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Innkeepers

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

The Innkeepers - 3 out of 5

I walked into this film without any preconcieved notions other than the fact it was a horror film.  And if you read my blog and my reviews, you know I don't expect much from horror flicks.  However, I barely knew what this one was about because I didn't see a trailer for it or even read about it.  I'm just such a movie nut that when the new releases come to Redbox that, unless I did see a trailer or read about it and it already left a bad taste in my mouth, I pretty much will give it a shot.

The Innkeepers is about a hotel that is on the verge of closing up for good, much like my desire to see anything made by Robert Rodriguez--no, wait, that desire is completely closed because his movies are awful.  Like seemingly every hotel ever built, this one is haunted.  I once worked for a hotel and there were rumors it was haunted by some of the staff but the only thing that haunted it was the stench of an incompetent manager.  Anyway, these two front desk clerks decide that they are going to get some evidence caught on tape of this haunting.  Regrettably, they don't have a camera but why would that matter since ghosts don't seem to show themselves when you have equipment that can prove their existence or, worse yet, seem to turn into orbs that look suspiciously like dust that is reflecting the light of the flash.  So, the duo decide to use only a recording device in an effort to get that which is the most ludicrous in the world of paranormal investigation--no, I  don't mean seeing if the room gets colder or using the device that detects the change in magnetic spectrum that always seems to go haywire near electrical devices (why haven't the paranormal investigators noticed that one yet?).  Instead, they rely on a audio recording device to detect...EVP, Electric Voice Phenomenon.  EVP, of course, isn't a phenomenon since you're picking up white noise and faint sounds coming from all areas (depending on the strength and type of mic you're using) and the human brain, which loves to find patterns and meanings out of nothing, pieces together this jumble of noise and creates things we understand:  voices.  But you must hand it to the clerks because they refrain from hiring SyFy's loverboys from TAPS to come out and phone-in an investigation (wait, are there actual complete, thorough and scientific ghost investigations?).

I would ask for my 10 dollars back from Great Clips if they gave me that rooster top.

While their investigation is fruitful for the fictitious hotel employees, it wasn't bearing much eatable fruit to ingest for the audience.  That sounds harsh but the movie isn't scary, not at all.  However, that isn't to say the movie is bad.  There was promise that literally filled every scary-less second of the film and the two main characters are fantastic.  The two clerks are portrayed, quite well, by unknown actors Sara Paxton and Pat Healy.  I call them unknown despite the fact that they've been in big projects (I guess I'll call Shark Night 3D a big project for Sara Paxton.  A big, regrettable project) but I'm 90% sure that you've never heard their names.  However, their performances in this one makes an argument that each should get more work.  If Sam Worthington can make a career on growling his lines and Shia LaBeouf is famous for stuttering, Paxton and Healy can be made famous for being decent at actually being the character they are playing without becoming a generic cardboard cutout who is the same in every freaking movie they are in.  Even better is the fact that both Paxton and Healy show real chemistry on screen and look as if they have been fellow employees for sometime.  It is within this obvious chemistry that keeps the movie moving forward and makes you care about the characters in their search for the spooky despite the fact the film never gives you a scare.

That is...until the last seconds of the film.

They're about to head into the basement...because ghosts, for some reason,
have issues with a well-lit sunroom.

Like I said, this movie is just drenched in possibility...which is more than you get from most horror films made.  Every second that passes, the film holds potential for some truly scary sequences and the film does a decent job of building the mythology of the ghost that haunts the hotel.  Sadly, the potential is never delivered until the last seconds of the film.  In those moments, it delivers the film's only true, spine-tingling moment in one of the most subtle ways I have ever seen a movie do--and that says a lot as the attempts at scares that come throughout the film in the obvious, "let's make them jump" variety that still mystify me on how they actual accomplish this as the music and build-up tells you exactly when the scare is coming.

Who you gonna call?  Pizza Hut, is the answer the stoned man gives.

I'm a jaded, jaded man and one of the most difficult persons to frighten in the world.  Believe me, my friends try it all the time and fail...and then I return the favor and scare the living shit out of them later for the attempt.  So, when I sit down to watch a horror film, I long ago gave up on the idea that it's going to make me shiver in my boots.  While, as of recent, a horror film fanboy friend of mine has turned me on to a couple scary movies that actually succeeded in making me afraid but the still overwhelming majority of horror films from all over the planet have spent more time making me yawn or laugh at the "by the books" cliches dancing on the screen.  But my metaphoric hat (why would I want to cover my epic mane of thick and rich hair with a real hat?) must come off to The Innkeepers because it seems that young director Ti West made be on the right track.  If not for the great performances he got out of his two leads but for the tremendously well down, albeit single, scare of the entire film in the closing moments before the credits.  The Innkeepers won't go down as one of the iconic horror films to come out but the effort was clearly there.

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