Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


The Innkeepers (2011)

So this guy Ti West, some snot-nosed kid (okay he's 32 but that's a kid to me) decided to write, direct and edit his own ghost story. Good for you son, keep practicing and you just might get it right some day. This movie tries to be stylish, suspenseful, give you a good story and a bang for your buck but then they abandon the story and the bang is more like a thud. It was probably rated 'R' because, hey, if it had been PG-13 the millions of viewers who saw it might have passed it up. I mean you saw it, right? No? How about you over there? A dentist appointment? At night? How about the shy one in the back... no? Well then the rating was for naught because apparently nobody saw this thing and that's probably good.

Note: I think I've had more comments on how dense I must be to not see the genius of this movie than any other. I've watched it several times and still have been unable to find anything redeeming about it (except that it was well shot) from beginning to non-plot to end. However, in the interest of I-don't-wanna-do-a-new-review-today, here's this review with a few updated opinions.

The actual Yankee Pedlar Inn in Connecticut
People say this young man is 'loyal to the genre'. You know what that really means? He copies what everybody else has already done. Period. This movie couldn't scare anybody, much less entertain. And he breaks it up into 'chapters' - what the hell? This isn't a book Mr. West it's an overlong 101 minute movie. Get over yourself. 

Yeah, this comment got me more than a few angry responses. My favorite is one person who says that I must think that only I make good movies... honey, thank you for that. The idea that you thought a amateur blogger could be a movie maker gave me the giggles and still does whenever I think about it. You hate me but I think you're just darling.

This was filmed in Connecticut, using some outside scenes of an actual inn called the Yankee Pedlar Inn. They don't state where the inside shots come from, but the overall feel is definitely like he was trying to copy the atmosphere of the Overlook Hotel (more The Shining references) when presenting this extremely lame (and ultimately never explained) ghost story:

A Ghost Story For the Minimum Wage
Chapter One - The Long Weekend: Claire and Luke are the last of the employees of an Inn that had been open for 100 years but is now on it's last weekend of business. But despite that, there's tons of furniture, an expensive baby grand piano, the banquet room is completely decked out for dinner, all the pictures are still on the walls, etc. etc. Claire has severe asthma, a device they use a lot during this movie to, I dunno, make things more suspenseful?

On my horror movie worksheet (patent pending) I have a list of rules of my own and it includes a medication list. On that list is asthma medication. I knew a couple of kids with asthma in school and guess what? They ALWAYS had an inhaler with them. They didn't lose them, they had a backup just in case, their parents made sure it was always with them... but in horror movies if you have asthma, you NEVER keep your inhaler either with you or with enough medicine in it.

Is this supposed to be like if she has to use her inhaler that must mean something scary is going on? Both are trying to start a website claiming the hotel is haunted because in their years there if they are alone, they sometimes 'hear' things. In an old building? With people in the rooms? That's just shocking. But to get this website off the ground, they need something solid in the way of 'proof', but (thank you Mr. West very much) they do NOT have a camera or camcorder so we don't have to worry about a lot of jerky scenes of nothing - just a lot of very steady scenes of nothing.

Watch out! The corpse bride is.... ah never mind.
Chapter Two - Madeline O'Malley: This was the supposed legend of the hotel - that in the 1800's a bride committed suicide in the honeymoon suite when her husband abandoned her on her honeymoon. There was supposedly a scandal when the owners, not wanting bad press for their hotel, hid her body in the basement. They were found out and had to sell the place. Luke claims to have seen her several times. 

She's only <mumbles> years older than me...
An older woman who used to be an actress, Leanne (starring OMG it's Kelly McGillis) who is supposed to be there for some convention.

Yeah, I got some flack for that one too. And well deserved I might add - after all, I'm not young and I never looked as good as she did and does so who am I to throw stones? It just gives me the giggles remembering that she did a love scene with Tom Cruise.

But when Claire hears voices and the piano plays by itself, she runs into Leanne who confesses she's actually in town for a psychics' convention, and that she herself is a medium. She warns Claire not to go into the basement, and says there's 'three' spirits but she can't tell what they want. We get the 'There is no real there is only a state of being' type of gobbledygook medium-speak.

OMG Kelly McGillis
Chapter Three - A Final Guest: This was the most obvious device in the movie. A very old man shows up out of the blue and insists he must stay in room 353 although only the second floor is set up for guests. Room 353 happens to be the honeymoon suite and he says he wants to wax nostalgic before the place closes. Uh, duh? Hello Mr. West? Why didn't did you just put a huge sign on his chest 'I abandoned my wife on our honeymoon and now I'm here to die.' because that's the first (and correct) thing I thought of when he showed up. 

So we forget about him and Leanne for a while and have to put up with Luke and Claire going around the place getting EVP readings (but again, thankfully, no hand held cameras). Watching them go around looking for strange noises in a very old building takes a looooong time and is a part of why this clunker was 101 minutes long.

I got real flack for this comment too - what I interpreted as a waste of film watching two soon-to-be-jobless employees wandering about a very non-scary hotel with a plain voice recorder was for other people a 'slow build up of suspense and great storytelling'. Okay maybe, but it was still boring as hell.

Wheeeereee's Myyyyy Tooowwwweeellsss?
Okay, here's how it ends and no, the questions raised are not really answered by any of it. Claire discovers that the old man has killed himself in the honeymoon suite (duh) and sees the corpse bride hanging in the room. She tells Luke who runs like a scaredy cat - he'd lied when he said he saw the bride before. She freaks and being movie-stupid, allows apparitions of both the old man and the corpse bride to lure her to the basement. 

Corpse bride, corpse bride, corpse bride...
Because the movie says so, she is so stupid and scared, she loses her footing and falls down the stairs into the basement. Disoriented and bleeding, she still sees the two apparitions following her and runs and locks herself in a room. Luke pounds on the door but she thinks it's the apparitions trying to get in and cowers in the corner. Then she sees the corpse bride (sorry, I just like that - corpse bride) and everything goes black.

Judging from her expression I think she was bored to death...
Epilogue: It is the next morning and the bodies of the old man and Claire, who we presume to have died of an asthma attack (it's not clearly stated, but Luke did find her inhaler on the stairs so...). Luke tells police he heard Claire's screams coming from the cellar but could not pry open the door to save her. Luke and Leanne leave with the police. 

Leanne tells Luke that Claire couldn't have been saved because hey, something had to happen in this clunker. You're sure not going to find out for sure if the old man was the groom, who the 'three spirits' Leanne spoke of were, why music kept playing, nothing. 

Now, I watched the ending three times very very carefully. The camera moves towards the room Claire was staying in, and we get to watch her empty room forever and then finally as the BOO moment the door slams. Oooh, that was really, really scary (heavy sarcasm). 

But the wiki version of this movie says that Claire's spirit faintly appears before the door shuts. I call BS on that one. I have a large computer screen, I looked very closely, even had my husband watch too, and there was nothing. Absolutely nothing. And that's appropriate because that's what this movie was - absolutely nothing.

So hate away all those who thought this movie was a piece of genius because even after several viewings I still saw it as a piece of...