MIFF 2011: THE INKEEPERS (2011)

24 Jul

by

Ti West is possibly the most intriguing and promising of contemporary American horror film makers. In the few short years that he has been writing, directing and editing his films he has defined himself as a director with a passionate skill and interest that has set his varied films out from the rest.

We shall most likely dedicate an Australia, You’re Missing Out to him, as only one of his five films has found release in Australia. Ironically it is the one film which he wished to have his name removed from (but was unable to due to not being part of the Director’s Guild): Cabin Fever 2, an outrageously gory homage to John Waters which was partially completed by the investors after bad shit went down. Previous to that were a variety of ultra-low budget films which worked within their confines to create wonderfully intriguing and memorable works, such as House of the Devil, a slow burn piece that felt as if it were a lost work of 70s satanic paranoia.

Now, with The Innkeepers, West has made a finely tuned and skillfully self-defined film which steps away from homage and allusion to create a mature work of horror.

There are currently a variety of reality TV shows in America which involve self-promoting fools running around haunted places with microphone equipment shouting, “Did’ya hear that!?” over and over again. The Innkeepers follows one such fellow, Luke (Pat Healy) who aspires to make something of himself via the internet and recordings of the supposedly haunted hotel as which he works, The Yankee Pedlar. It is the last weekend before going out of business. There are less than a handful of guests, including an ex-TV star played by Kelly McGillis. Luke is assisted by Claire (Sara Paxton), a vivacious young lady who is in-between things on a road to nowhere, as is the older and much more jaded Luke.

For the most part The Innkeepers is reminiscent of those indie talkies of the 90s, in which believable people talk like people of the zeitgeist. Perhaps that sounds like a bad thing, but West and his wonderful actors create characters that felt like real souls, and the humour in their performance had the crowd roaring with laughter just as much as it cleverly demonstrated the ache in their hearts. The Innkeepers is a very scary film, not since Lake Mungo have I been as tense in a horror film. But beneath the scary-as-fuck ghosts and classic horror jumps there is a beautiful story about lost souls trying to find meaning and purpose. If there are ghosts there must be souls and if there are souls then life can’t be so pointless and horrible after all, right?

Horror films should feature heartbreak, and even when you want to scream at a character not to go into that room again, well, underneath it all you know that they must because there isn’t anywhere else to go.

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One Response to “MIFF 2011: THE INKEEPERS (2011)”

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  1. Horror Film Directors | The Blue Pixel - September 24, 2011

    […] Mike FlanaganGuillermo del Toro and Katie Holmes DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK InterviewMIFF 2011: THE INKEEPERS (2011) #content-body,x:-moz-any-link{float:left;margin-right:28px;}#content-body, x:-moz-any-link, […]

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