Innkeepers (2012)
Directed by Ti West

Starring Kelly McGillis Pat Healy Sara Paxton

A leisurely paced, offbeat horror comedy refreshingly free of CGI, "The Innkeepers" makes up for its low budget and even lower body count with an excellent cast and even better dialogue. It's the best "haunting" film since "Haunting in Connecticut," which also happens to be the state where this was filmed.

Sara Paxton plays a young, underpaid hotel inn clerk whose frazzled, older co-worker (Pat Healy) is at work on a Web site documenting the alleged haunts that go on at their place of employment: the real-life Pedlar Inn in Connecticut (the real hotel is apparently not haunted). Their attempts at making contact with the legendary spirit of a 19th century suicide victim from the hotel meet with less-than-spectacular results at first. But things get more interesting when a new guest arrives in the form of a has-been TV actress-turned-psychic (Kelly McGillis) in town to give a speech on psychic healing (a la Shirley McLaine).

To say the film builds up slowly is a bit of understatement, given the speed with which most horror films pick up these days. The first half of the film is mostly a study of Paxton's character and the film never leaves the confines of its hotel setting.

The ghost story itself is not very remarkable. But what makes the film unforgettable is the witty dialogue and the actors that deliver it -- particularly Kelly McGillis who manages to be genuinely intimidating as the flawed mother figure whom our protagonist hopes can rescue her from the forces of evil. Despite her limited screen time, McGillis ultimately carries the show.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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