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Scott Derrickson

The Innkeepers

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I saw this tonight at the one L.A. theater it was playing in downtown. The acting is a little wonky in places, but overall it's a pretty great indie riff on The Shining, just as director Ti West's earlier film House of the Devil was a pretty great riff on 80s slasher horror. It's not quite as elegant or effective as other quiet/restrained ghost stories like The Others or The Orphanage, but it has an air of true auteur originality that those films lack. For an accomplished and contained horror film, it's certainly free of any faux-Polanksiesque pretense, and by the end of the film, I just loved the experience of the film. Definitely worth seeing in a theater for the fine wide lens photography, but I think it's also available now on iTunes if you have no local theater playing it.

Oddly enough, it has Kelly McGillis playing an old psychic. Watching the movie shortly after seeing MI4, it's hard to believe she once played Tom Cruise's love interest and that they made love together on screen. That says more about Cruises highly accomplished plastic surgeon than it does McGillis's normal-looking 55-yr-old physique. She also made out with Harrison Ford in Witness; at least the two of them would still make a somewhat sensible on-screen couple.

Anway, I digress. If your a horror fan at all, The Innkeepers is well worth watching.

Edited by Scott Derrickson

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I think the film looks great, and seems to be getting some good reviews.

But, just judging from the trailer, West's Twitter account, and the movie poster...aren't there two "n"s in "Innkeeper"?

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Scott is referring to West's film the inkeeper. It is about a haunted fountain pen. ;)

Anyways, I have been curious to see this, West has been real hit or miss for me. I thought House of the Devil was terrific...but nothing else has really impressed me...his Cabin Fever sequel was awful beyond words.

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Anyways, I have been curious to see this, West has been real hit or miss for me. I thought House of the Devil was terrific...but nothing else has really impressed me...his Cabin Fever sequel was awful beyond words.

West has publicly distanced himself from the film on numerous occasions. From what I've read, West was booted from the film at some point, and the resulting film was primarily a result of the studio changing things. He tried to have his name removed (and replaced with 'Alan Smithee,' natch), but I guess that didn't work.

Edited by Jason Panella

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Oh geez. Okay, how do I fix that title guys?

Edit -> Use full editor.

Edited by SDG

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Oh geez. Okay, how do I fix that title guys?

Edit -> Use full editor.

Got it, thanks. For a high paid writer, my spelling is a never-ending source of embarrassment. Humblebrag.

Edited by Scott Derrickson

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Got it, thanks. For a high paid writer, my spelling is a never-ending source of embarrassment. Humblebrag.

My favorite thing about screenwriting advice books is how they emphasize getting the formatting and spelling exactly right...and then see the spelling errors they've made. ;)

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I'm a huge fan of The House of the Devil and have been looking forward to this one for quite some time. It hits the best screen in Grand Rapids in two weeks. Can't wait!

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I'm a huge fan of The House of the Devil and have been looking forward to this one for quite some time. It hits the best screen in Grand Rapids in two weeks. Can't wait!

I'm now excited to see this, having just seen West's House of the Devil. I thought it was a blast. I realize we don't have a thread for that...should we?

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I'm a huge fan of The House of the Devil and have been looking forward to this one for quite some time. It hits the best screen in Grand Rapids in two weeks. Can't wait!

I'm now excited to see this, having just seen West's House of the Devil. I thought it was a blast. I realize we don't have a thread for that...should we?

I don't know what's happened to me. I thought I would enjoy House of the Devil, having been weaned on 1980s horror movies, both good and bad. Then I watched the film sometime in the past year, and was completely unmoved by it, other than to think it was pretty dumb. Was the ending creepy? A little. But it took SO long to get there. I take it I was supposed to feel a mounting sense of dread or something. Instead, I just watched it, my blood pressure remained level. Nothing.

This keeps happening with horror films and books. I hear there's a good one, think it'll rekindle my interest in the genre, but then I watch/read it, and nothing.

I want it back! I want the genuine chills that a good horror film/story can bring.

Edited by Christian

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I'm a huge fan of The House of the Devil and have been looking forward to this one for quite some time. It hits the best screen in Grand Rapids in two weeks. Can't wait!

I'm now excited to see this, having just seen West's House of the Devil. I thought it was a blast. I realize we don't have a thread for that...should we?

I don't know what's happened to me. I thought I would enjoy House of the Devil, having been weaned on 1980s horror movies, both good and bad. Then I watched the film sometime in the past year, and was completely unmoved by it, other than to think it was pretty dumb. Was the ending creepy? A little. But it took SO long to get there. I take it I was supposed to feel a mounting sense of dread or something. Instead, I just watched it, my blood pressure remained level. Nothing.

This keeps happening with horror films and books. I hear there's a good one, think it'll rekindle my interest in the genre, but then I watch/read it, and nothing.

I want it back! I want the genuine chills that a good horror film/story can bring.

41 people at the test screening for my new film SINISTER wrote "scary as fuck" on their response cards. I hope I give you what you're looking for.

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I'm a huge fan of The House of the Devil and have been looking forward to this one for quite some time. It hits the best screen in Grand Rapids in two weeks. Can't wait!

I'm now excited to see this, having just seen West's House of the Devil. I thought it was a blast. I realize we don't have a thread for that...should we?

I don't know what's happened to me. I thought I would enjoy House of the Devil, having been weaned on 1980s horror movies, both good and bad. Then I watched the film sometime in the past year, and was completely unmoved by it, other than to think it was pretty dumb. Was the ending creepy? A little. But it took SO long to get there. I take it I was supposed to feel a mounting sense of dread or something. Instead, I just watched it, my blood pressure remained level. Nothing.

This keeps happening with horror films and books. I hear there's a good one, think it'll rekindle my interest in the genre, but then I watch/read it, and nothing.

I want it back! I want the genuine chills that a good horror film/story can bring.

41 people at the test screening for my new film SINISTER wrote "scary as fuck" on their response cards. I hope I give you what you're looking for.

I am not sure what the appropriate response to that comment should be, but it did make me laugh.

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Scott Derrickson wrote:

: 41 people at the test screening for my new film SINISTER wrote "scary as fuck" on their response cards.

Eh? They all wrote those three words spontaneously, coincidentally? Or was that one of the answers on a studio-dictated multiple-choice thingy? (Actually, that would be kind of awesome, if a studio actually put that on one of their test-screening cards...)

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I'm a huge fan of The House of the Devil and have been looking forward to this one for quite some time. It hits the best screen in Grand Rapids in two weeks. Can't wait!

I'm now excited to see this, having just seen West's House of the Devil. I thought it was a blast. I realize we don't have a thread for that...should we?

I don't know what's happened to me. I thought I would enjoy House of the Devil, having been weaned on 1980s horror movies, both good and bad. Then I watched the film sometime in the past year, and was completely unmoved by it, other than to think it was pretty dumb. Was the ending creepy? A little. But it took SO long to get there. I take it I was supposed to feel a mounting sense of dread or something. Instead, I just watched it, my blood pressure remained level. Nothing.

This keeps happening with horror films and books. I hear there's a good one, think it'll rekindle my interest in the genre, but then I watch/read it, and nothing.

I want it back! I want the genuine chills that a good horror film/story can bring.

41 people at the test screening for my new film SINISTER wrote "scary as fuck" on their response cards. I hope I give you what you're looking for.

I am not sure what the appropriate response to that comment should be, but it did make me laugh.

Definitely an appropriate response - I think it's hysterical.

Scott Derrickson wrote:

: 41 people at the test screening for my new film SINISTER wrote "scary as fuck" on their response cards.

Eh? They all wrote those three words spontaneously, coincidentally? Or was that one of the answers on a studio-dictated multiple-choice thingy? (Actually, that would be kind of awesome, if a studio actually put that on one of their test-screening cards...)

They all wrote three words spontaneously - which I find very strange and funny.

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Finally caught this. I was really impressed. After digging House of the Devil and really enjoying Trigger Man (one of West's earlier movies), I agree with Scott's assessment that West's movies have a real auteur sensibility to them. The Innkeepers was really well shot, and I loved how the movie took its time. You got to know the characters by spending time with them, and there's a playfulness in the first half (even somewhat in the second half) that really makes this movie feel like something different. What also makes it different? It's closer to the Lewton end of the horror spectrum — there's atmosphere galore.

The acting was hammy in spots, but I thought Sara Paxton and Pat Healy were perfect as the leads.

I can't remember how to black out stuff for spoilers, so....SPOILERS

I like Paxton in Healy so much so that I was bummed in end after Claire dies. I do appreciate how ambiguous the paranormal stuff is, too. A lot — maybe all? — can be chalked up to nothing more than Claire essentially scaring herself to death. No ghosts, just an overactive imagination. On the other hand, it could totally be real. Claire seems really out of sorts when interacting with other people, and she really has no future — nothing planned out. Maybe because she was meant to die in the hotel? It's almost like her interest in the ghost hunting and general inability to really communicate with others might mean she's meant to be a ghost, or something. Leanne mentions how there are three ghosts in the hotel, despite the fact that there's only one that Claire knows of. Then, the widower dies, and then Claire dies. Leanne hints that her metaphysical abilities give her a sense of what's going on without giving her an idea of when, so there ARE three ghosts in the hotel....just at a future point. She does everything in her power to get Claire out of the hotel, but as she said, there wasn't anything they could've done. Not a new idea, but played nicely.

In some of the special features, West and his team mention that the movie was designed from the Yankee Pedlar up. As in, if they couldn't use the Pedlar (a real hotel), they wouldn't shoot the movie. I honestly can't think of a similar film. The hotel really does have a personality of its own.

As a side note, man...internet "horror" fans really don't seem to like West or his movies. Their loss.

Edited by Jason Panella

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I watched House of the Devil tonight, and noticed in the credits that Lena Dunham (yes, Girls creator Lena Dunham) played the 911 operator. I checked to make sure, and IMDB says she was in The Innkeepers, too.

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I watched House of the Devil tonight, and noticed in the credits that Lena Dunham (yes, Girls creator Lena Dunham) played the 911 operator. I checked to make sure, and IMDB says she was in The Innkeepers, too.

Yeah, her role is incredibly minor and delightful. She plays an overly talkative barista.

Edited by Jason Panella

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I may be out to lunch, Jason, but I thought you mentioned this somewhere and I watched it in response. I am very much a fan of this given some of the reasons mentioned above. Given the interiors, the pacing, and the growing awareness of genre, I thought it worked very well. Your review captures everything I liked about it.

Edited by M. Leary

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As a serious film fan who likes suspenseful, atmospheric, "old-school" horror, I loved this film. I had hoped that I would (especially given that, for the most part, I liked House of the Devil), but some of the extremely mixed reviews online led me to go into it with some trepidation. As it turns out, I need not have worried.

The characteristics of the movie that irritated many viewers (the very slow build-up, the surprising amount of humor and warm-heartedness), I thought only added to it. Moreover, some people who wrote about it seemed to think that there is no suspense or eeriness at all for most of the film. I emphatically disagree. There are more than a few tense moments for me in the first hour.

It's true that that hour is not "action-packed" in the specific (and mind-numbing to me) way(s) of many contemporary American horror films. However, the true human empathy that (at least for me) was built for the male and female leads during that time only made the ultimate shift into overt horror all the more effective. I bought the Blu-Ray of The Inkeepers, and I'm glad to have it in my collection for those nights when I'm alone in my apartment and want to be spooked in a good way. smile.png I can't wait to see Ti West's next one.

Edited by Christopher Lake

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He directed a section of V/H/S, but from the way the /Film podcast describes the movie as a whole, I'm not sure I want to sit through the whole thing.

West also directed one of the 26 shorts in The ABCs of Death, which showed at TIFF. From what I've heard, a lot of people went in looking forward specifically to his, and left fairly bummed out that his short was juvenile and offensive.

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I can't wait to see Ti West's next one.

He directed a section of V/H/S, but from the way the /Film podcast describes the movie as a whole, I'm not sure I want to sit through the whole thing.

Thanks for the tip. I just listened to most of the podcast (I finally turned it off, because there were too many spoilers about individual segments of the movie). I was very disappointed to hear about the apparent nature of the beginning of the film. Just after hearing that, I was fairly sure that I did not want to see the film anymore-- but after hearing more of the podcast, I decided that I'll still probably check it out but with lowered expectations. (I also simply hope that it comes to a theater somewhat near to me!)

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He directed a section of V/H/S, but from the way the /Film podcast describes the movie as a whole, I'm not sure I want to sit through the whole thing.

West also directed one of the 26 shorts in The ABCs of Death, which showed at TIFF. From what I've heard, a lot of people went in looking forward specifically to his, and left fairly bummed out that his short was juvenile and offensive.

Hmm, this is quite disappointing to hear. If there is any way that I would characterize West's seeming approach to filmmaking, from the two films of his that I've seen, it would be that he is strongly going against the juvenile, unnecessarily offensive tenor of so much of current horror cinema in the U.S. This short might be an unfortunate exception though. I'm not nearly as excited to see The ABCs of Death now...

Edited by Christopher Lake

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