Written & Directed by: Ti West
Full credits at IMDb
The first scare in The Innkeepers is a cheap jolt, done by one character to another as a practical joke. It's not because director Ti West doesn't know how to scare an audience. I mean, the few scares that he delivers during the bulk of this movie are smart, good-natured, and funny, though The Innkeepers isn't a goofy horror movie. It's just that West knows that the scariest thing you can see on screen isn't something bad happening to someone–it's something bad happening to someone you've grown to love over the last 100 minutes. He scares his characters so you'll like them more; then he scares you.
Sara Paxton stars as just about the dorkiest, most lovable heroine a horror movie has ever had. Asthmatic, ambitionless, and adorable, she's working the last weekend at a small-town hotel, a kind of modest Overlook that's possibly haunted. She and her co-worker, a Simon Peggish Pat Healy, are amateur paranormal enthusiasts, hoping for one last ghostly encounter. West broke through in 2009 with The House of the Devil, a Satanic slasher that evoked, without wink or kitsch, the horror films of the late 1970s. Here, he explores a different subgenre: the haunted house (or haunted hotel) movie, often drawing on an 80s, Spielbergian charm.
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