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A Few Thoughts on "The Innkeepers" (Spoilers) - Ti West

Let's start with good stuff. Ti West may well be the best director out there right now at building suspense and dread in horror movies. The first thing I did when I was finished watching "The Innkeepers" was turn on the lights - that's a sign West did his job. And he doesn't do it with cheap scares and gimmicks. He just slowly hones in on a shot/scene without flinching. He has a keen sense of where you don't wanna be and puts you right there. The fact that he can make movies scarier and more disturbing than flicks with three times the budget and bigger name actors is a testament to the fact that he's at the top of the genre. He did couple things in "The Innkeepers" that are bona fide scare inducers...

The Frail and Vulnerable Victim

Sara Paxton plays one of two clerks working at the Yankee Pedlar its final weekend before closing. She's frail and asthmatic and scared of her own shadow, and seeing her so easily frightened, reaching for her inhaler at every turn, makes us more scared. It's like the child victims in movies like "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" or "Ringhu." Really vulnerable victims that can't protect themselves increase the menace factor.


Inexplicable Malevolence

Madeline O'Malley, the key evil spirit in "The Innkeepers," never speaks or in any way takes on human-like characteristics. She's just one really dead and scary looking spirit. We don't know her intentions, but they certainly don't seem good. Remember how much scarier Chucky was before he started talking? Humanizing the bad guy is the reason Freddy Krueger became a gag. Inexplicable evil is always more unnerving.

I'm not going to give away everything, but I will say that by the end of The Innkeepers I was spooked. In fact, from the time Pat Healy and Sara Paxton head to the basement to "contact" O'Malley's spirit until the end is pretty much a nail biter.

My criticisms of the movie are that it took a too long to get to the scares and the main character's actions didn't seem plausible or logical at several points. Whenever you have to ask why a character is doing something in a horror movie, it always takes away from the effectiveness. That happens quite a bit here with regard to Sara Paxton's character. First of all, why would someone as easily frightened as her be into paranormal investigations to begin with? Makes no sense. Secondly, she goes into the basement and other places that a character as trepidatious as she is just wouldn't go. If anything, Paxton would have been the one running out of the Yankee Pedlar, not Pat Healy's character. Because her actions have dire consequences, the lack of a logical motivation is even more annoying. (Stark contrast from the lead character in "House of the Devil," whose actions and resulting jeopardy seemed a lot more believable.)

Now, because this is a blog mainly about sexy models, I have to mention Sara "packs a lot into a small package" Paxton's bod. If you've seen the cruddy Shark Night, you know Sara has a thin but surprisingly curvy figure. There's a scene in this movie where she comes running downstairs in just a t-shirt and, even though she's looked almost androgynously asexual up until this point, she suddenly becomes pretty sexy. Just had to note it. Winking

I enjoyed The Innkeepers and will continue to watch Mr. West's movies. I definitely recommend it.

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