Saturday, March 24, 2012

@NOFS Review: "The Innkeepers"

The Innkeepers (film)
The Innkeepers (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Have you ever been tricked into watching an internet video that scares you out of your seat? You know the kind; the description suggests a shocking event (girl gets kidnapped, a car accident, something supernatural, etc), but when played, you get a quiet and somewhat boring setting. Then…BAM! A monster or ghost bursts into the frame, screeching something horrific that almost pops your ear drums. This practical joke just about works every time.

“The Innkeepers” plays this scenario out in its first few minutes. The joke is played on Claire, a young front desk clerk at an old hotel, by her coworker Luke. The pair are working the hotel’s final weekend before closing, and are bored as all hell – though it’s suggested that they’re bored even under normal circumstances. They perform the daily tasks with a sigh, just waiting to get back to the only interesting thing about work; finding evidence of the ghost that is rumored to haunt the hotel.

The two leads remind me very much of Dante and Randal from “Clerks”. No, they’re not as vulgar, but they are equally stuck in life. While Luke seems a bit content with his position (much like Randal), Claire begins to realize that she has no aspirations outside of the hotel – what will she do with herself after the place shuts down in a few days?

Almost as a way to find the answers to her own existence, Claire seeks out the ghost that too is stuck in the hotel. She doesn’t really have a goal in terms of freeing the spirit or anything like that; I think she just wants to know it’s there. Maybe to reassure herself that she’s not alone? Maybe to just have a cool story to tell? 

Much like the video that tricked Claire, the movie is more fun and whimsical than scary and creepy. Yes, there are a few scare moments, but, in the end, you’re left with a smile instead of a nightmare.

It’s funny to me how two thirds of “The Innkeepers” reminds me of a movie like “Waiting…” minus the toilet humor, but one thirds feels like the more suspenseful moments of “Shutter Island”. I can’t say this is a horror film, but it does have it’s moments – the real terror isn’t that there IS a ghost, but that there MIGHT be a ghost. That, and is working a dead end job better than working amongst the dead?

"The Innkeepers", presented by the New Orleans Film Society, will be playing at Chalmette Movies from March 25th to March 27th.  

3/5 *'s

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