Reel Reviews

The Innkeepers - Blu-ray Review

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The Innkeepers - Blu-ray Review

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4 stars

When is a horror film not a horror film?  Essentially, that’s the question when writing a review for writer/director Ti West’s latest release, The Innkeepers.  Like Rosemary’s Baby and The Shining before it, The Innkeepers manages to rise above its genre and prove that horror can and should do more for its audience than what is allowed to pass through the money-grubbing gates of Hollywood.

Previously, West proved himself a promising new talent with 2009’s House of the Devil and he continues in an upward trajectory with his latest offering.  West isn’t concerned so much with scaring the crap out of his audience, what he does with The Innkeepers; however, is unleash a damn good story with very believable characters.  Antiquated, I know, but it works.

Set in a small town in Connecticut, The Innkeepers focuses its lens on being a young modern adult stuck inside the apathy of a dead-end job.  Is there anything more terrifying that that?  Well, yes, there is and two bored desk clerks, Claire and Luke (Sara Paxton and Pat Healy), are about to find out.  Trapped working the final weekend of the Yankee Pedlar hotel, the two pass the time with casual flirtatious behavior, witty banter, and a general lack of concern toward their job.

The hotel is old and almost empty; floors are stripped and most guests are only permitted to stay on the second floor.  Not there are a lot of visitors.  Even rumors of the Yankee Pedlar’s tepid haunting can attract visitors.  In fact, there are a total of three guests a woman angry at her husband, a lonely old man, and an actress-turned-energy-reader (Kelly McGillis from Top Gun), yet somehow – whether by accident or by fate – all visitors find themselves effected by the final weekend of business.

No, there are no cheap thrills here.  The Innkeepers builds its scares without jumps or bumps or thumps.  No zombies here either.  West’s tightly spun script goes for the genre’s deeper levels; the psychological and develops its powers within the anxiety of assumptions.  Paxton and Healy are actors skilled at making us believe in the everyday.  I know these people; they are easily relatable and tenfold the amount of suspense with their small talk and interactions with guests.

At once, there is classic feel to The Innkeepers.  West’s camera is aware of its hotel corners and corridors and slowly pans with eeriness akin only to Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining.  Clearly, such a statement means there is nothing amateurish about West’s work.  Three films in (with one – Cabin Fever 2 – being renounced by him) and it’s confirmed; he’s a solid talent in a business hurting for fresh voices.

Unsettling and darkly twisted like a root, The Innkeepers and its ghost bride happenings will keep your claustrophobic anticipation locked in the basement.  There is no escape.

{2jtab: Film Details}

The Innkeepers - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: R for some bloody images and language.
Director
: Ti West
Writer
: Ti West
Cast:
Sara Paxton; Pat Healy; Jake Ryan; Kelly McGillis; Lena Dunham
Genre: Horror | Thriller
Tagline:
Come stay at the Yankee Pedlar ... For a night you WILL NEVER FORGET
Memorable Movie Quote: "She hung herself after her fiancee stood her up on their wedding day."
Theatrical Distributor:
Magnet Releasing
DVD/Blu-ray Distributor: MPI Media Group
Official Site:
www.facebook.com/theinnkeepersmovie
Release Date: No wide theatrical release
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
April 24, 2012

Synopsis: During the final days at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, two employees determined to reveal the hotel's haunted past begin to experience disturbing events as old guests check in for a stay.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

The Innkeepers - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

4 stars



Blu-ray Experience
4 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - April 24, 2012
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)

The 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer for The Innkeepers is sharp as a tack.  Clearly modern (which is key to the story’s mood), colors pop onto the screen with a sense of purpose and pride.  Flesh tones are a bit toned down for stylistic effect, but the overall detail in the lens is gritty and peppered with a nice layer of film texture.  Walls are muted and colors are a little on the cool to earthy side.  Still, the detailed image from the transfer raises the stakes for this plucky movie that some will certainly champion as West finds more fans.  Shadows run deep and black levels are thick, providing great atmosphere for the psychological ride.  The wicked sound design is amplified to the nth level in an effort to creep the casual listener out.  Presented in a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, the sounds alone are enough to unsettle the viewer.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • While there aren’t a lot of special features, the disc does come loaded with two commentaries.  The first one - recorded by writer/director Ti West, producers Peter Phok and Larry Fessenden, and 2nd unit director/sound guy Graham Reznick - covers the level of meticulous planning that went into the filming of the movie.
  • The second track, provided by West and stars Sara Paxton and Pat Healy, is a bit more relaxed and less-technical recording.  Here, the three cut loose a little bit and talk about the acting side of the film and the amount of fun and laughter that went on behind the scenes.

Special Features:

Bummer.  There is only one and I’m not counting the trailer.  It isn’t that detailed, but the featurette we get records the actual filming of the movie.  Apparently, everyone (including their dogs) lived in the Yankee Pedlar while they recorded the film and a sense of family spirit was achieved.  Interesting, not essential.

  • The Innkeepers: Behind the Scenes (7 min)
  • Trailer

{2jtab: Trailer}

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