It times for the next double feature!
This time I’m digging into the Shudder categories. I honestly need to either watch more films there or just cancel the thing. The latter is definitely something on my mind lately but so many titles I still want to look at that I can’t find anywhere else. With that said, I’ve been looking for one of these films since its release so was looking forward to checking it out and hoping it’ll live up to my expectations. While the other is one I’ve heard mixed reviews on so wondering how that will turn out.
Let’s give it a go!
Director: Vincenzo Natali
Cast: Abigail Breslin, Peter Outerbridge, Michelle Nolden, Stephen McHattie, Peter DaCunha, Samantha Weinstein, Eleanor Zichy
A teenager is stuck in a time loop that is not quite the same each time. She must uncover the truth but her actions have consequences for herself and others. – IMDB
I love Abigail Breslin. Perhaps its one that I’ve had because she’s done some great roles in her younger days like Little Miss Sunshine and Nim’s Island. As she got older, her roles got a little more scattered. I was okay with the Scream Queens role and then I hate the Final Girl but I thought The Call was a decent role. Haunter was one that I had my eye on. It didn’t get particularly stellar reviews but I honestly liked it quite a bit. The scares are quite generic and predictable however the atmosphere and the story itself along with the whole thriller-esque aspect works pretty well. If that doesn’t appeal to you either, the cinematography here created with a rather older home setting works along with a warp into an older time where it adds something of a static-y old film filter that works incredibly well for the setting it was trying to create.
Haunter might not be anything particularly special but somehow it worked for me. There was some pretty unsettling moments. It worked hard to give it a more psychological twist and a story behind to figure out who is behind all this and what is going on because Abigail Breslin’s character is one of the few who notice the revolving day that she goes through. There are some obvious pacing issues and some generic content here. If its scares you are looking for, its actually more of a couple of jump scares but works more as a suspense/mystery/thriller and that works for me. Perhaps for the experienced and hardcore horror fan, this might fall really short.
The Innkeepers (2011)
Director (and writer): Ti West
Cast: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis, Lena Dunham, Alison Bartlett, Jake Ryan
During the final days at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, two employees determined to reveal the hotel’s haunted past begin to experience disturbing events as old guests check in for a stay. – IMDB
In some ways, I can see how The Innkeepers gets its credit. I had a decent bit of scares and there was genuinely some creepy moments whether it was jumpscares or atmosphere related. The setting in a creepy hotel is quite generic however, it does work in its favor. The camera work and the limited amount of characters also works well here. Ghost-hunting and many other horror themes are absolutely going to show up here and it has its predictable moments. There is nothing that breaks the genre including the fact that our main character Claire, played by Sara Baxton is not only clueless but makes a lot of really dumb decisions.
What Innkeepers does really well is just setting up the mood and the shots. There are some really effective parts, even if it felt slightly pointless. But it also focused a lot on the unseen. What we can see will get our imagination going and I remember when I went to see the Before I Wake premiere (review) at Fantasia Festival a summer or two ago, during the Q&A session Mike Flanagan made a comment about how our imagination for Absentia (review) was far more effective than anything he could have created with the budget he had for that movie. It goes to show the power of our own imagination and how I appreciate it when directors know how to leave certain things to the viewer’s interpretation and imagination. For that, The Innkeepers did a decent job. In fact, you don’t see a whole lot of creepy ghosts or anything like that for a good portion and its really little subtle things that happen and they all build up the atmosphere as it takes you for a ride to the big finale.
While I can appreciate the great technique here and looking at Ti West and how he was behind Scream TV series, I can see how he has grown and this definitely shows his ability to have a voice in horror and am curious to check out some of his other directorial efforts. The Innkeepers wasn’t exactly a groundbreaking horror experience. It was pretty average with some cool ideas and executed moments.