The Innkeepers (2011) – 3/5

Goofy, stupid film with a silly, borderline cartoonish plot full of clichés, bad dialogue, and illogical/incomprehensible story elements that would have made for a truly terrible film were it not for the great cinematography, a few choice moments of genuine terror, and a great, great performance from lead girl Sara Paxton. Man can that girl act, even in a role as annoyingly written as this one was. She’s arguably the heart of the film, stupid over the top theatrics and all, and is certainly an actress to watch. The girl’s going places.

The film, though, is all over the place. The beginning is this big goofy sitcom type deal with Paxton and her creepy 40-year-old coworker buddy love interest whatever the hell playing pranks on one another and joking around, oh and they also look for ghosts for some reason, which is fine, whatever, but these scenes make up 2/3rds of the film and function mostly as padding to make up for an obvious lack of story. It all gets very old very fast. Then the scares finally come in and yes, they’re tense and yes, they’re scary, but **SPOILERS** Paxton’s character does such obviously stupid things, and the motivations of the ghosts are so poorly and confusingly defined, **END SPOILERS** that you just don’t give as much of a damn as you should.

The biggest problem of the film, ultimately, is the plot, which is so thread thin and poorly developed that it’s almost laughable. Most of it doesn’t even make sense. This is a haunted house movie, for crying out loud; how hard could it possibly be to come up with a half decent plot? The things practically write themselves! You’re not reinventing the wheel here, nor are you expected to do so. Just come up with a half decent back story for your ghosts, stick them in an enclosed space with a few sexy but naïve teenagers/young adults, throw away the key, and bam, you have yourself a movie. See? Not hard.

Anyway, stupid film, terribly written, but well shot and acted, and scary at times, but not enough to justify the poor plot/characters. A disappointment given how great “House of the Devil,” this director’s previous film, was. That movie didn’t have much of a plot either, but what it lacked in forward momentum it more than made up for in tension and genuine scares. The man definitely has an eye for visuals, and is very good with actors, he just needs to work on his writing.

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  1. August 19th, 2012

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