The Innkeepers


Room with a boo? Ti West accommodates...

A haunted hotel on the verge of closure, choking its dusty last over one final weekend as the ghosts of residents past mournfully stalk the corridors and hallways... Welcome to the unlikeliest romcom of 2012!

OK, Ti West’s latest chiller, following his excellent satanic-panic period piece The House Of The Devil, isn’t a cheesy chick flick, but behind the nerve-shredding (and it is terrifying) The Innkeepers is an indie slacker-com at heart. Think Clerks meets The Shining.

Set and shot in The Yankee Pedlar inn – a real hotel in Connecticut locals believe is actually haunted – it follows Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy), 20-something, college-drop-out would-be paranormal investigators charged with manning the front desk and taking care of the remaining guests before the hotel shuts down for good.

First and foremost a character piece, it hangs out with Luke and Claire as they kill time chatting, drinking and laughing at the annoying local barista (an excellent cameo from next-big-thing Lena Dunham). They also dick around with EVP equipment, pretending to be ghost hunters and freaking themselves out with tales of spook-in- residence Madeleine Mallory, ‘The widow of the Pedlar’, said to roam the halls.

Miles from her Last House On The Left/Shark Night scream-queen persona, Paxton is goofy and pixieish, while Healy’s a loveable nerd. It’s largely a two-hander with interludes from the eclectic guests – most notably an unselfconscious turn from Top Gun icon Kelly McGillis as washed-up actress turned spiritualist Leanne Rease-Jones. If there’s an over-reliance on false scares in the first half, it’s rectified by the final act, as playful ghost games turn menacing.

The location is a gift, a kitsch mix of chintz and glitz which suits West’s storytelling perfectly. Set in the modern day, steeped in Victoriana, with an unhurried, finely crafted early-’80s feel, The Innkeepers is both old and new, fresh and gorgeously nostalgic.

Just like in The House Of The Devil, The Innkeepers takes its time to build, cranking up the tension as your sympathy for Claire and Luke deepens. But unlike House, The Innkeepers’ pay-off completely delivers. Wincingly frightening, sad and satisfying, at its heartbreaking conclusion The Innkeepers treads a carefully ambiguous path which resonates long after the creepy final coda. It’s one of the scariest, and best, horror films of recent years.


The best hotel horror since The Shining is a character piece, a comedy, a love story and a wee- inducer that marks Ti West as one of the most capable genre-wrights around.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • FBSHarrigan

      May 30th 2012, 17:08

      Slacker comedy meets haunting movie, this seems like it could work wonders. The haunting sub genre has been really tired as of late. The Woman in Black was the only somewhat remarkable film involving haunting this year, and it was only ok. This seems like a very interesting idea to provide a break from the gloomy scares. I like this idea specifically because it can create characters that the audience actually cares about instead of a bunch of jerks that people want to see get picked off. The trailer looks really good too, it has atmosphere similar to the Shining.

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    • Parasyte

      Jun 11th 2012, 15:04

      I cannot believe that this movie has been so highly rated! It was really awfull. I came into it with an open mind and found that Sarah Paxton was a very natural actress but the 25 seconds of "horror" was no where nearly enough to even warrant this being called a horror movie. Very disappointed.

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    • 4bs7162

      Jun 11th 2012, 17:09


      Totally cool this movie isn't just an average ghost story it's the best ghost story i have seen in years. the story and acting is completely amazing. The creepy make up and SFX is great and delivers shocks and scares. Ti West is one of the best genre writers of our time. So for all you horror fans out their i strongly recommend this on! Age: 15 Director/Writer: Ti West Starring: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy and Kelly McGillis

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    • thedanieljson

      Jun 22nd 2012, 0:22


      Truly excellent. Terrifying. The five star rating was entirely accurate. I'd rather go through an hour of set-up and characterisation (which is also entertaining) and half an hour of true, gut wrenching terror, than 20 minutes with a*****es and an hour of unconvincing shocks and gore. Truly brilliant.

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    • terryjones

      Mar 29th 2014, 2:13

      Must have watched a different film reading these reviews, Almost fell asleep it was so boring. Sarah Paxton plays some annoying young girl trying to be cute and "cooky" she fails in that role and dies at the end, pointless. An old guy after killing himself in the bath wanders about looking as scary as some old guy wandering about, he looked lost and very uncomfortable,reminded me of an episode from Fawlty Towers, very amusing. Kelly McGillis tells Sarah Paxton not to go down to the basement then goes with her down to the basement, . Sarah Paxton says she must get out of the hotel but goes looking for Kelly McGillis in the basement even though she knows she is upstairs and has sent Pat Healy to get her. Not much can be said of Pat Healy's role, his character is characterless and he does nothing. As for the ghost bride even Scooby Doo's done that one..and a lot better! No characters, no scares, no originality, cheap film with absolutely no plot whatsoever.

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