The Innkeepers Blu-Ray Review

The Innkeepers Blu-Ray (2012)

Starring Sara Paxton, Pat Healy & Kelly McGillis

Written & Directed by Ti West

Yours truly, Dave Voigt here, also known as The Pop Culture Poet, has finally been acknowledged as an Entertainment Maven. I just want to quickly thank  Matt and his team for bringing me on board and am looking forward to what should be a fun ride!

After a successful run at on the festival circuit, including a stop at our very own Toronto After Dark festival last year, it’s time to dive into a fantastic ghost story out this week on DVD & Blu-Ray from our friends at eOne Films.  Let’s take a look at The Innkeepers.

The Innkeepers centers on the final days of operation of the Yankee Pedlar Inn, a quiet New England hotel with a history of paranormal activity which has seen better days.  On the hotel’s final weekend of operation, its final two employees, Luke and Claire (Healy and Paxton), are determined to find proof that ghosts are haunting the halls of this old hotel. Throw in the hotel’s final customer Leanne, a former actress turned spiritualist, and you’ve got a weekend that none of them will ever forget.

The expression of ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ really comes to mind when watching The Innkeepers as it really is a masterful cinematic stroke of old school scares in assembling the classic ghost story.  Through a near perfect slow burn as the narrative built, writer/director Ti West hardly ever left the actual setting of the hotel, making the story more about what the audience thought was there than what we actually saw.  West didn’t rely on any lazy ‘shock & awe’ moments throughout the film to get the audience interested, but instead used a solid, logical narrative and fantastic character development to have the audience slowly creeping towards the edge of their seats as the tension built to a fevered pitch.  Rather than have it be overly convoluted and complex, he kept it simple and proved that quite often ‘less can be more’ when done right.

As an ensemble cast, everyone involved in this film worked quite well together.  Paxton and Healy had a great dynamic together and we as an audience are immediately invested in their relationship.  As they explore the dark bowels of the Yankee Pedlar Inn, we care about these two and it made the legitimately scary moments all that more effective.  Kelly McGillis as the former actress now new spiritualist dove into the role and actually embraced the self-deprecating humor that the part brought and it was a lot of fun to watch.

The sound and picture quality on the Blu-Ray were top notch, if you are sitting in a dark room you could easily scare yourself just watching it and the special features include a brief behind the scenes look at the film as well as two feature length commentary tracks; one with director Ti West and various members of the production team, as well as a second commentary track with Ti West and stars Sara Paxton and Pat Healy as well as the theatrical trailer.

Ultimately The Innkeepers takes us back to a time that relied on storytelling and stylish filmmaking to elicit a scare or two out of its audience, rather than the more torture porn stylings of today.

4 out of 5 stars

The Innkeepers is widely available at retailers, and to rent at video stores across Toronto if you want to check it out.

Don’t forget to keep it locked right here at Entertainment Maven (like us on Facebook).

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