In this eerie ghost story, a venerable inn closes after a century in business and the two remaining employees are determined to uncover the truth about longtime rumors that the majestic mansion is haunted — but will they survive their explorations?
Victor – 8 out of 10
This film has already begun to polarize horror film fans. Some find director Ti West’s little ghost film to be too slow, chatty, empty, un-scary and lacking gore and shocks. In a strange and twisted sort of way, for these reasons alone is why I liked the film. Very much. It isn’t flashy, full of empty shocks that do nothing and loud bombastic music. It isn’t gratuitous in it’s gore and there is no nudity at all. But aren’t these things what make up a horror movie? Well, no. It isn’t much to the surprise of us horror fans that are desensitized by all of the above in modern horror films.
Less is more and Ti West proves it very well here. The film’s eerie, title opening of shots of Inns throughout history backed by Jeff Grace’s unnerving score is unsettling and involving. The credits play out smooth and slowly. Already we are asked to slow down and let things unfold. Sara Paxton as the slim and awkward Claire and Pat Healy as the slothy, porn addicted Luke are the two leads who portray slacker employees of The Yankee Pedlar Inn which is on the verge of shutting down due to poor business. They are to hold down the fort by themselves in a reputedly haunting Inn. Their chatter and discourses are smart, witty and natural due to a good, tuned in script by Ti West. We immediately like them though they are hooked on the internet, (where they watch hauntings on video), drink beer, forget towels and try scaring each other with ghost stories. The have chemistry and they bond. So much the better since when things go bump in the hotel we are frightened for them and care for their safety.
Paranormal events start to increase as the days and nights go by. There are strange visitors as well like an estranged wife and her child, a creepy old man that insists on a certain room and there is Kelly McGillis as an actress that may not be all she claims to be. These are just more layered elements that creeps out the viewer. The tragedy of what happened in the Inn unfolds as well as Claire digs into the history of the Inn and asks McGillis for spiritual help to make contact. Which is not a good idea at all. West pleases with scenes full of mood and music. I liked that he plays out sequences with the score playing full out strong, building suspense. Things unravel at the Inn and the glorious camerawork by Eliot Rockett is simplistic and amazing to behold as he frames hallways, staircases and rooms wonderfully.
The Innkeepers has a simple set up, simple story and is self deprecating at times. It’s a haunted Inn movie that really doesn’t feel like a horror picture. It feels like a living and natural piece of cinematic fun that says, “slow down. you won’t find a balls to the walls horror film here.” It’s true, you won’t but it will serve as a reminder that less is more can be ok once in a while. Enjoy.
Reclusive Londoner Jamie Morgan (Jim Sturgess), who bears a prominent, heart-shaped birthmark on his face yet can’t seem to find love anywhere, makes a deal with a devil-like figure to get a girl — but there’s a deadly price to pay. After his mother is murdered, the newspapers say thugs wearing devil masks committed the crime. But Jamie soon begins to suspect that they weren’t wearing masks at all.
Rating: 8 out of 10
“Love is only temporary but suffering is eternal.” -Papa B. in the film Heartless
Heartless is a very special film containing the most original visual work I have seen in a film since “Black Swan.” I love films where the camera is as much a character as the principle actors. Director Philip Ridley doesn’t just place actors on a set and have them exchange dialogue until they move onto the next scene. He paints a picture here that perfectly encapsulates the mood of each individual segment. When demons are lurking, committing atrocities, or tempting the main character, we not only feel but see the bleakness, despair, darkness, and anger. Conversely, the romantic and loving elements are obviously quite the opposite but are just as, if not more, effective. He changes the style completely to a washed out and bright world that feels like you’re touching heaven.
The story itself is a Faustian tale with its own surprises and twists along the way. I have always enjoyed when a character that has a good heart is given a chance at getting what he wants the easy way by having to commit evil deeds. Does he take the opportunity despite the steep costs? What deeds must he perform? How does it affect the other characters around him? It’s a formula that can be very good or very bad depending on the skills of the director and actors involved. Luckily, the script here works almost as well as the visual style. These characters really come alive in Ridley’s world and pulled me in. I cared what happened to them. I suppose much of the credit for that has to be given to Jim Sturgess who is brilliant in the main role. He goes through myriad changes from the beginning to the end of the film and our hearts break or are lifted up by him. Are there missteps? There’s a few. The setup is so amazing that I’m sure the final act was hard to pull off no matter what they did. I didn’t feel the same satisfaction as I did during the setup. Without giving away any spoilers, the last 10 minutes wrapped up a bit too quickly. I felt a bit more explanation was necessary considering the amount of questions that had been left open. Is it a perfect film? No, but it’s damn good and for anyone that enjoys a dark moral fable, I highly recommend it.
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