Thursday, April 6, 2017

Day 157: The Innkeepers

Like Radiohead and Wilco used to battle it out in my head as to who my favorite band is (Radiohead won some time ago), The Innkeepers and Session 9 are constantly vying for my two favorite horror movies. As of today, the Innkeepers is winning.

Ti West directed this haunted house story set in an old hotel. It is the final weekend open and two employees are sharing the duties of running it. Sara Paxton is Claire, a young woman with no direction in life who has gotten sucked into the mythology of the hotel where she works by her co-worker, Luke (Pat Healy). The hotel is supposedly haunted by a woman who died waiting for her husband on their wedding night. Claire is more than ready to spend this last weekend recording EVPs and asking empty rooms if there is anyone trying to communicate.

While Luke is the real ghost enthusiast, he gets freaked out at the slightest sign that the ghosts may be real. There are only a handful of other guests staying and each add to the creepiness in some way (a little kid makes a receptive listener for Claire's ghost stories, a past her prime movie star is versed in the occult and provides exposition, etc.).

This movie gets me so worked up, I swear I've seen things in it that aren't there. I have created whole scenes in my head that simply don't exist. Ti West makes the hotel alive with big, empty spaces and tight, claustrophobic corners at the same time. Much like Session 9, the reason I love this is because there may not be any ghosts at all. Claire gets less and less sleep as the weekend proceeds and scares herself more and more without the hotel doing anything. Is she getting a recording on the EVP, or is it a glitch? Has she seen a ghost or is she just in need of some rest? By the end, you can interpret either way, and I love that.

This movie has a slow pace (like West's House of the Devil) but it builds to a delirious crescendo of horror. For people who like lots of jump scares and guts and gore, this may not be your horror bag but for people into psychological horror, I would hold this up as the best example of the genre.

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