The verdict is in: Ti West is a great director. After The House of the Devil, I was feeling him, but was convinced that he could not create the same magic that he produced for this film. But then I watched The Innkeepers and it is now official. He is someone who I will start to pay close attention to, absorb all of his work and say things like his early films are way better than his current things. I apologize in advance.
In all seriousness, I really did like this film a lot. The plot is simple, but the feelings are complex. Claire and Luke are the last two employees of a closing hotel. They watch over the sparse guests including a mother mad at her husband, an actress turned medium, and an old man staying for sentimental reasons. These guests require almost no maintenance, so they turn their focus to the most important task at hand: ghost hunting. According to a legend, a woman hung herself in one of the rooms and the previous owners covered up the suicide by putting her body in the basement. Her soul is therefore trapped in the hotel because she was not properly buried. Luke has made a website dedicated to all of the strange dealings in the hotel but it needs vast improvements. On the last weekend they are open, they have to get something that legitimizes their claims. But they get more than they bargained for.
Claire is at an impasse in her life. Faced with inevitable unemployment, she has a choice to devote herself to something and pursue it or get stuck at another dead-end job. When asked by the actress turned medium whether she does anything, her perplexed face speaks volumes and hits me to the core. I sometimes feel that the only way to be interesting is to be into some hobby that is rich in possibilities. This philosophy puts a burden on myself and drives my need to know everything about film in order to appear interesting and unique to other people who I meet. Luke however is content with not doing anything or being anyone. He has accepted his fate. This Claire’s chance to prove that she is interesting to the actress and everyone around her. This is Luke’s chance to be close to Claire for a little bit longer.
It is always hard to say that a horror film is well photographed. There are notable exceptions (like The Shining) but the cinematography always seems to take a back seat to the scares at hand. Just like this statement was untrue of The House of the Devil, it is equally so for The Innkeepers. Colors and the use of light accentuate the prevailing emotions in a scene to perfection. When Claire is bored, the lobby takes on a blinding warmth, but when she is scared it becomes a comforting glow.
I have run out of things to say that are my unique opinions so I will leave with this last sentiment: This film was awesome.