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The Innkeepers (Blu-ray Review)

I’d been really interested in seeing The Innkeepers when I heard about the project and it being Ti West’s follow up to the excellent The House of the Devil. Spooky New England hotels, ghosts, demons, people crapping themselves in hotels where ghosts and demons live? Hell yeah! I should also make mention that I had already seen the film on VOD a couple of months (or weeks) before the Blu-ray, so I already knew what I was getting myself into. The question still remains: Did I like the film before AND after? The Blu-ray contains a couple of extras that the bare-bones VOD version did not. Maybe that will sweeten the deal a bit more? Read on and find out. 

Film

The Innkeepers is the story of The Yankee Pedlar Inn, which is shutting its doors for good. Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) are the last two employees that will oversee the official closure of the inn on this fateful weekend. They’re working around clock in rotating shifts, but have ample time to hang out and talk about some of the most mundane crap ever. Luke is an amateur “ghost hunter” and gets Sara all riled up by asking her if she would help him with his website and whatnot. After she sees what’s online strange things begin happening at the inn. A rattle here, a door slam there. And that’s about it.

For more than an hour we have to sit there and listen to these two potato heads go on and on about their boring and lame existences. See, it wouldn’t have been so bad if the actors had better written material to work off, or if they were better actors altogether. When I first watched the film, I kept checking the clock, because it dragged and dragged. The second time I sat down to watch the film on Blu-ray, I kept checking the clock, because it dragged and dragged.

There’s a term that is starting to get overused and that term is: Slow Burn. It’s a gradual build up of events that will reach it’s peak and then explode…or something similar. The American and The House of the Devil are examples of “slow burn” films. The difference in those films is that they’re actually good. I’m giving The Innkeepers a score of 2-dogs, because it’s very ambitious and it’s a great looking film. I’m always down for style over substance as long as I am not bored by it. The Innkeepers a great looking film, production values are top notch, direction is good. It’s the acting and story that aren’t all that compelling. Luke’s character is a poor man’s Simon Pegg and Claire is just the ditzy/annoying blonde girl who yells a lot. She’s a complete spaz. When the horror aspects of the film kicked in, I really didn’t care anymore. The film was trying to be too many different things that it just lost its focus.

Even Kelly McGillis (Top Gun, Stakeland) makes an appearance as a famous author and self professed “paranormal expert,” but she’s wasted for the most part. She’s only in the film for a bit, but does lend some weight to the film even though it goes nowhere…meaning that she’s the most recognizable person in the cast. No, I have not seen Shark Night 3D, for you Sara Paxton fans out there.

Ti West is a famous household name in the world of indy horror, so it was pretty shocking at how bad and boring his follow up to the brilliant The House of the Devil actually was. It’s a shame, because the trailers, artwork, and other promotional materials made the film look amazing. I’m hoping that West bounces back from this one and gets to make other films along the same lines as The House of the Devil.

If you’re at all curious about The Innkeepers, I’d suggest a rental when it streams on Netflix or Amazon. For free, if possible. In the end: One star for the film, one star for the visual aesthetics of the film. Two stars. Once we tally up the technical and supplemental scores, I’m sure the overall score will change, so keep reading…

 Video 

The Innkeepers is presented in 1080p, 2.40:1 widescreen. Well, the film may gave been a bore, but it was a beautiful looking bore. The lush low lit interiors were just accentuated by the stellar cinematography throughout that it left me speechless in some scenes. This is one inn I would love to stay in. Flesh tones looked natural and unnatural, if you get my meaning. Black levels remained deep and inky and never crushed. Contrast was kept in check, although I did detect instances of softness and a bit of edge enhancement in a couple of scenes, but nothing that would tarnish the near-reference presentation of this Blu-ray. It’s a damn fine looking film!

Audio 

The Innkeepers is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1. Again, here’s a spectacular lossless surround sound track that can only be experienced on the Blu-ray format. Dialogue is the main star here and it comes through impeccably. It’s a front driven film with the occasional scare from behind, which envelopes the sound-scape. It also gets a near-reference score due to it not being as dynamic when nothing’s going on. During moments of quiet, there is nothing to be heard, not even in the surround channels. It only gets hot and heavy when the you know what hits the fan. Early on there’s a random scare that has nothing to do with the central plot of the film, but made me shit my pants when I first saw it. That’s a testament to the sonic wizards who mixed the film in post. Good job.

 Extras

The Innkeepers does have a couple of interesting special features included on the Blu-ray. There’s a 7-minute making-of featurette, which shows you what went on during filming. The other features that make up the bulk of the supplements are TWO audio commentaries with Ti West. The first commentary has Ti West and his technical staff talking about how they made the film. The second track is of Ti West and his two lead stars talking about the film. One is more on the educational/technical side and the other is more of a kick back commentary, as they reminisce about their days filming. A trailer for The Innkeeper rounds out the package.

  • Commentary with Writer/Director/Editor Ti West, Producers Peter Phok & Larry Fessenden, and 2nd Unit Director/Sound Designer Graham Reznick
  • Commentary with Writer/Director/Editor Ti West and Stars Sara Paxton & Pat Healy
  • The Innkeepers: Behind the Scenes
  • Trailer

Summary  

Major buzzkill indeed. In a sense of irony, I almost wish that The Innkeepers would have come out before The House of the Devil. That film is epic, and I believe that The Innkeepers should have taken it to the next level, but it didn’t. The one thing I will give credit to is the presentation of this Blu-ray disc. The video and audio specifications are phenomenal and the extras are slightly above average, which is why you get a higher than average score overall. The film still sucks, in my opinion, but it does have lots of style to spare and I loved the location that was used for shooting. Save yourself the aggravation and seek out The House of the Devil. You’ll thank me in the morning.

 

 

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

3 Responses to “The Innkeepers (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    Nicely written, even though I liked the film more than you, which we’ve discussed already. I was enough a fan of these two people (though poor man’s Simon Pegg is fairly accurate), especially “Claire” that I was into the film throughout; especially as it delivered what was being teased in the end.

  2. Brian White

    I want to see this, but weary of the 2 star rating. Hmm…

  3. Aaron Neuwirth

    I don’t think it’s your kind of movie Brian