Director Ti West has created an effective throwback horror movie with 'The Innkeepers,' a creepy ghost tale now available on video on demand and playing in select theaters. It features two main characters, a haunted hotel and some strange things that go bump in the night. There are few ingredients, but, when taken together, they make for a scary recipe.
Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) are on the midnight shift at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, a Connecticut hotel that's ready to shut its doors for good. There are only a couple guests staying at the hotel, so it looks like the Yankee Pedlar will close down without much fanfare.
Although they were expecting business as usual, it doesn't take long for Claire and Luke to realize that something is awry. There are weird sounds around the hotel, and one guest (played by Kelly McGillis) has a penchant for talking about the presence of ghosts.
Claire and Luke are initially intrigued by the prospects of a possible haunting. They are amateur ghost hunters and run a web site to display their findings. Before the Yankee Pedlar's final days, they were interested in ghosts from a distance, relishing the stories of possessions and nighttime scares. But when faced with the prospects of a haunted hotel, the two take a collective gulp and realize they're in way over their heads.
The movie succeeds on two fronts. First, both Paxton and Healy are likable and believable. They have a true chemistry with each other, and it's not hard to think of them as friends in real life. They speak their lines of dialogue with a skilled conversational tone, and it feels organic and real.