The Innkeepers (2011)
Best Musical Score (2011) at Screamfest. Says it all, frankly.
Why was there a sign on the door saying 'Going Out Of Business'? Was there a sale on?
Welcome to The Yankee Pedlar Hotel, established in 1891 and allegedly home to the lost spirit of a jilted bride that hung herself when her husband to be upped and left her. The movie regularly relies on staple horror jumps, even stretching its credibility to breaking point very early on with a now familiar internet prank that anyone watching would see coming a country mile away.
The lead, Claire, is an asthmatic (yes,we get it), listless but seemingly happy-go-lucky under achiever. She is joined at the front desk of the Yankee Pedlar by Luke, a disenchanted web jockey and sarcastic pessimist. They are manning the hotel for the last weekend it is in business, despite often to be found together in various parts of the hotel that are not the front desk. Pity the poor paying occupants of the huge place on its last weekend then as customer service seems to give way to their combined pet project of locating the spirit in question through the use of microphones and cctv. Thankfully for Claire and Luke (and us), these guests are limited of which the most intriguing has to be Leanne Rease-Jones (in a surprising turn from Top Gun's Kelly McGillis) who seems to have her own agenda for being at the hotel.
The acting is not too bad overall (if occasionally outright funny at times when the opposite would seem a prerequisite), which is surprising given what is a bloody awful story. The writing, again, is if not on par, then certainly bubbling around it. The musical score, which is the only thing the film has won an award for, is the creepy piano chord and high string crescendos you would expect from a horror movie made in a bygone age, which the film is all the better for. The script, whilst often intriguing, is a slow, deliberate finger-dragging haul from beginning to end, with characterisations that simply don't make any kind of sense, given what the characters are experiencing. This is careless, inconsistent and disappointing.
In all, a game of two halves, that will irk the viewer more often than impress. Entertaining for all of the wrong reasons and a couple of the right ones. This has been done before, and so much better.