Tag Archives: The Innkeepers

Vic’s Review – “The Pact” (2012)

Feeling obligated to return home for the funeral of the mother she despised, Annie senses an evil presence in her childhood home. As she seeks answers about her mother’s death, she finds herself forced to face demons from her past.

Victor –

7 out of 10

I admired director Nicholas McCarthy’s strong effort “The Pact”. It is a tight, otherworldly who-dunnit that despite a strong and engaging first half does eventually peter out by the conclusion. It does have some very cool things to like in it though. It is just enough to redeem itself from a hokey subplot involving Casper Van Dien as a private dick who investigates the disappearances of two women connected to a house that is haunted by a restless spirit. Also a type of whodunnit that seems a bit out of place here.

Caity Lotz (as the by-the-numbers grieving lead) plays Annie who returns to her childhood home to pay her last respects to her recently deceased mother. It is an effective start to the film as McCarthy sets up the tone. A weighty bit of insight into how Annie and her sister were raised by a disturbed Mother. It isn’t anything groundbreaking and it surely tries to be just what it is. A unrefined moody bit of mediocrity. During the set up McCarthy displays some success in fleshing Annie and with the help of some cleverly placed camera angles and composition by DP Bridger Nielson (Splinter, 2006) the film maintains some semblance of mystery. There is one effective moment during a video chat between Nicole, Annie’s sister and Annie, where Nicole’s daughter sees an apparition that the video does not pick up. An unflashy piece of horror that is quite effective. It does turn into a gumshoe tale for a while as Annie’s Sister and her cousin Liz go missing and Van Dien investigates the goings on.

Van Dien is a quirky bit of casting here. He is scruffy, solemn and very by the book. His Det. Creek is even charmed by Annie as she tries to relate accurately the other-worldy things that have been going on. By this time the routine haunted house trappings emerge. Strange sounds, things move, food is found on the floor and strange shapes move around the home. Annie begins having vivid dreams about a man sitting on bed crying. As she delves deeper into her mother’s past, which involves an old photo found, a hidden room found on a blueprint, she starts to realize that there is something malevolent at work in her Mother’s house.

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Keeping in with my spoiler free reviews I must admit that The Pact is a diamond in the rough as is Director McCarthy. His style and effort has yet to mature but he surely has the ability to keep us involved and even when it starts to get convoluted involving a medium, (who is an old friend of Annie’s), a spiritual presence that attacks Annie and even a serial killer named “Judas”, we still know there is more than meets the eye. We do at times scratch our heads in puzzlement and the somewhat bland delivery of the actors is very disappointing, “The Pact” does have some surprises in it that horror hounds would like to check out. It is a work in minimalism. It is a bare bones type of mystery that has Ti West (The Innkeepers) written all over it. I still would recommend it just on that alone. Enjoy, Gang.

Vic’s Review – “The Innkeepers”

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.