I won't mince words – Ti West has truly become one of our most thoughtful and suspenseful filmmakers. Never one to rush a moment, story or character, West continues to gleefully make films that take their time and his work has become more and more fascinating to watch. His latest outing titled "The Innkeepers" is yet another alluring story befitting of Ti’s unique sensibility complete with ghosts and geeks.
Built in the 1800’s, the Yankee Pedlar Inn has seen better days, in fact it’s about to shut it’s doors for good. The last remaining employees Claire, a bubbly and inquisitive gal, and Luke, a more reserved computer dork, have heard their fare share of rumors about the place being haunted. So since they’re on shift for the final weekend, the two ultimately decide to do their own thorough examination. Posing like a couple of would-be ghost hunters, the two check out the various nooks and crannies the Inn has hiding and find little at first. But the bolder and deeper they delve, the more odd and downright strange the unexplained occurrences become and soon things start to get scary – very scary.
Like all films with great storytelling, "The Innkeepers" understands that the journey getting to the end is half the fun. This is the arena where the calculated West excels – making characters and situations that the audience cares about. His two leads Sara Paxton and Pat Healy are the fantastic average folks, totally relatable and totally engaging. West even throws in a soothsaying psychic in the form of the fabulous Kelly McGillis (who also was the ‘top gun’ in "Stake Land" from last year!), who herself plays an aging actress turned future reader with total savory relish.
But most of all I love the way West keeps the audience off guard without the use of jumping cats, flying heads and severed limbs. He seems to prefer the quiet moments, when a fast heartbeat is more than enough to fill the empty air with fear. Much like an early Hitchcock, West forgoes cheap thrills for more carefully planned expensive frills that linger longer for real fright fans and makes "The Innkeepers" his most accomplished work to date. Comedy, character and chills – Ti West is the keeper.
"THE INNKEEPERS" IS CURRENTLY ON VOD AND OPENS IN SELECT THEATERS ON FEB. 3 FROM MAGNOLIA PICTURES.