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The Innkeepers (2011) Review

The Innkeepers is a 2011 American supernatural horror film directed by Ti West and starring Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, and Kelly McGillis. The plot follows two employees of a hotel who attempt to uncover its dark history.

The Innkeepers is an effective and atmospheric horror film that benefits from strong performances by its cast. The film is set in the Yankee Pedlar Inn, which is set to close its doors for good after many years in business. Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) are the only two employees left on the staff, and they spend their days preparing for the inn’s final days. However, they begin to suspect that the inn may be haunted, and they set out to investigate its dark history.

The Innkeepers is a slow-burning horror film that relies more on atmosphere and suspense than jump scares. This approach works well, as the film is able to build a sense of unease and dread that is effective at times. The cast is also strong, with both Paxton and Healy delivering solid performances. McGillis also does well in her role as the inn’s owner.

Two hotel innkeepers Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy), become embroiled in supernatural shenanigans when they start to investigate the otherworldly activities of the hotel’s past. Mix into the fray awkward customers and relational ‘issues’ and The Innkeepers provides one of the more intriguing ghost movies that have appeared recently.

I can see this is going to be another of those divisive horror flicks with some folks hating others loving, it’s really a two-tiered movie in some regards. I’d say approximately half the movie is pure non-horror playing out more like some kind of oddball romantic comedy with Claire and Luke just simply getting along with one another. The other half is a good old fashioned ghost horror and it’s done in a very retro style, evoking memories of 70’s and 80’s horror flicks. This does seem to be something of a trademark for the movies director Ti West who very much has a passion for older horror – nothing wrong with that!

The movie’s acting standard is well above average and this is extra specially true of Sara Paxton who plays Claire. The character is a bit scatty, unconfident and generally a bit slow. Sara does a smashing job at bringing all of these qualities out in a natural, very life like way. The other actress I though was great was Kelly McGillis as the retired actor now psychic Leanne Rease-Jones. This character injects a lot of the mystery and dread into the story and definitely helps the movie roll along that bit better.

The movie has little in the way of special effects and gore, very little gore in fact. It’s safe to say that The Innkeepers is very much more psychologically orientated in the way it builds drama and fear. The careful use of the camera (in tandem with class editing) really makes you wonder what’s around the next corner and at times it can be enthralling.

This brings us potentially to the movies biggest flaw. Pacing. It’s a damn slow movie to get started, the character exposition (IE: getting to know the characters at the beginning of the movie) just seems to go on forever. This movie really does have a slow pace indeed. For some this will be a major off-put but for others who perhaps dig the characters, it won’t be that big an issue at all.

As it stands I really enjoyed The Innkeepers. For all it’s quirkiness I thought it was a tautly made ghost horror, that has decent production values and knows how to put you on the edge of your seat when it wants to. Just remember it’s slow to get going.

Overall, The Innkeepers is a well-made horror film that is worth checking out. It’s not the most original film in the genre, but it is effective at what it does. If you’re a fan of atmospheric horror films, then this is definitely one to check out.


The Innkeepers is a 2011 American supernatural horror film directed, co-written and co-produced by Ti West. The film stars Sara Paxton, Pat Healy and Kelly McGillis. The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 10, 2011.

The film follows Claire (Paxton) and Luke (Healy), the only two employees working at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, which is set to close after being in business for over a century. As the Inn’s final days draw near, the two employees begin to investigate the hotel’s supposed hauntings. Their investigation takes a turn for the worse after they release a demonic entity that had been trapped in the hotel for years.

The Innkeepers was generally well-received by critics. Many praised Ti West’s direction, as well as the film’s atmosphere, acting and slow-burn approach. However, some criticized the film’s ending, feeling that it was too abrupt and not fully satisfying.

Movie Details

Director: Ti West
Writer: Ti West
Actors: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis
Release Year: 2011