SXSW Review: Ti West follows up acclaimed 'House Of The Devil' with playful ghost story 'Innkeepers'
AUSTIN - Ti West is starting to build a brand name for himself as a horror filmmaker, and with his last film "The House Of The Devil," he seemed to crystallize his voice and really settle into what is he wants to do as a storyteller. That film is all about the ultra-slow burn, and by the time it actually pays off, it's obvious that West is more interested in the fuse than the explosion. Since it seems that it was technically impossible for anyone to write a review of "House" without using the term "slow burn," West seems to have made a conscious decision to play with expectations for his new film, "The Inkeepers," which made its premiere over the weekend at the SXSW Film Festival.
"The Innkeepers" stars Sara Paxton and Pat Healy as Claire and Luke, two young people who are working the front desk at The Yankee Pedlar, an old hotel that is about to close. For the most part, they're the only ones who are in the building, and they spend much of their time recording various rooms in the hotel on both audio and video, trying to capture some sort of proof of hauntings in the old building. And for probably 2/3 of the film, it plays as almost a low-key comedy about inertia, and there's a great laid-back Jarmusch vibe to what's going on, punctuated only by the occasional jump scare which plays as an intentional violation of the mood that's being built. It's like West read the complaints that nothing happened in his last movie, so he's chosen to include a number of blatant, obnoxious, over-the-top jump scares, so in your face about it that you have to laugh.