has an average rating of 5.7 on IMDb
1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 25gb disc
DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
are way too short but still worthwhile
– 101 minutes
– Dark Sky Films (MPI Home Video)
This uses 14.4GB for the movie out of 17.4GB total.
Street Date: April 24th, 2012
Overall Verdict – A Scary Recommendation
— Review written by: Justin Sluss —
The Movie Itself was written & directed by Ti West, best known for directing the films “Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever” and “The House of the Devil” — both from 2009.
The story here is set in an historic (over 100-year-old) New England hotel (“The Yankee Pedlar Inn“) during the last few days of it being open before going out of business. The staff at the inn now has been reduced to just two employees — “Claire” (played by Sara Paxton) and “Luke” (played by Pat Healy). Luke has told Claire that the inn is haunted and that he’s “seen things” — so he claims. He also tells Claire that he’s in the process of making a website where he’s going to feature all of his findings such as videos, photos, EVP recordings and the backstory as to why the inn is haunted. Claire is supportive of her co-worker and believes him. She also at this point is the only one wanting to actually do any investigating as Luke seems more focused on working on his website and making fun of the few guests they have staying at the inn on the last few days. The first guests they have are a mother and her son. The mother has had a fight with her husband and is trying to make a point to him by staying in a hotel. The only problem here is she’s not staying in a “hotel” or even “motel” for that matter, she’s staying in an old-fashioned inn on its last night being open. This woman keeps bugging Luke for towels and other services he’s not exactly in the mood to offer on the last day of his job. The second guest they get is a middle-aged woman by the name of “Leanne Rease-Jones” (played by Kelly McGillis) who Claire immediately recognizes as a former actress from a TV show she was a fan of. The woman tells Luke that she’s in town for a conference. So far that’s the only two guests staying in this rather large inn on its last few days being open.
The staff aren’t exactly focused on their jobs as you’d imagine and I discussed a bit earlier. While Luke is working the front desk and when he’s away on break Claire decides to do some investigating (“ghost hunting”) of her own using the high-end voice recorder and microphone Luke owns. She has been told by Luke that the inn is haunted by a woman named “Madeline O’Malley” who hung herself when her fiancé stood her up on her wedding day. During her EVP recording sessions Claire tries to reach out to this woman by name and gets some weird static coming across the headphones as she’s recording. Eventually the static clears up and she starts to hear strange sounds; namely the sound of a piano playing which leads her to the front lobby of the inn — where a piano sets and very likely did back then as well. She gets a bit scared by this and goes to Luke and wakes him up from his break trying to get him to listen to the EVP recordings. Luke doesn’t seem too eager to listen but eventually does and admits that he does hear the piano playing in the recording.
That’s really all I can tell you about the plot here without giving away too much and dishing out any “spoilers” so-to-speak. I will just put it this way, some old guests (aside from the folks mentioned above) decide to make one final visit to the inn.
“The Innkeepers” proves to be yet another impressive film from writer/director Ti West. As famous critic Roger Ebert said it best “Ti West knows how to build suspense” — which is definitely the truth here. The film had a limited theatrical run during which it received some pretty good reviews from critics. Moviegoers also seemed to like it. The film currently carries a 76% (out of 100%) rating on the “tomatometer” over at Rotten Tomatoes; where it’s been deemed “certifiably fresh” — an impressive honor to get these days. The film as I said did only receive a limited theatrical run, 25 theaters to be exact, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise it only made a total of $78,396 total at the box office; according to Box Office Mojo. The real place the film seems to have got the largest audience and probably made the most financially (so far) is via iTunes where it received a “VOD” (video on demand”) style rental release back in late December of last year. Now that it’s making its way to home video it’s sure to find its target audience for sure.
Being a fan of Ti West ever since I first saw “The House of the Devil” I knew he would go on to later make some incredible films and this proved me right. It definitely proves to be both horrifyingly suspenseful and also entertaining via some witty dialogue that has a bit of comedy to it early on in the film. Most folks will complain that the first 30 minutes or so of the film seems a bit “slow moving” and doesn’t include any scares but I personally found that to be good, as it gave us time to get to know and like the two main characters — especially Claire. I liked how the film is split up into three chapters and ends with an epilogue. That felt very old-fashioned and fitting to the style of horror this was intended to be. I look forward to seeing more films from Ti West in the future and it looks like I won’t have to wait too long as he’s already got some projects in the works. Also, it’s definitely worth noting that this IS a real inn in New England and it IS in fact SAID TO BE haunted. Ti West originally stayed here when he was making “The House of the Devil” and the strange happenings encouraged him to want to make a film about the actual inn itself.
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a BD-25 (25 gigabyte single layer Blu-ray Disc) in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio. According to IMDb‘s technical specifications for the aspect ratio this was shot on Super 35MM film using the Aaton Penelope camera. Most important part here is to have a solid black level since this is (eventually) suspense horror and some dark scenes are definitely included. I’m happy to report the black level is solid and the dark scenes look great. The black level also helps emphasize detail here. Lots of crisp detail here throughout the film; especially close-ups of actress Sara Paxton — who’s very easy on the eyes so-to-speak. The color palette is maybe a tiny bit subdued to set the visual style that director Ti West and his DP (director of photography) Eliot Rockett were going for but it still proves to have somewhat vibrant colors at times. The flesh tones are accurate, again with the lovely Sara Paxton to serve up as beautiful example. The film print does have some white specs occasionally and a considerable amount of grain but that is to be expected as it was shot on Super 35MM film. The visual Hi-Def presentation here is pretty impressive and well worthy of a “4.5 Star Rating” for overall video quality.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio. The opening credits sequence has somewhat of a great first example of the lossless 5.1 via the original Score (music) by Jeff Grace — who worked with director Ti West on his previous film “The House of the Devil” as well. Jeff Grace’s music has a great sound to it here and does an excellent job of setting the mood throughout the film. The music gets some nice rear channel and LFE (bass) presence; as well as obvious front left & right channel presence. Dialogue makes a good majority of the first 30 minutes or so of the film and it is delivered distinctly here in those first 30 minutes and throughout the film via the front center channel speaker — requiring no volume adjustments. The mix starts to really “liven up” so-to-speak roughly around 31 minutes or so in with the Score’s deep bass leaving you starting to feel that eery suspense factor. By this point my subwoofer had the stuff in room rattling a tad bit. Deep bass like that is great to help build suspense. Around 35 minutes in during the EVP recording session “Claire” does in the laundry room you’ll hear the sound effects make some nice creepy use of the rear channels to scare the viewer just as the main character is. I can’t go into detail involving any other specific sequences as I’d like to avoid dishing out any “spoilers” or anything. All and all, this mix does the job, it does have its moments where it is impressive at times; enough to earn it a “4.5 Star Rating” for overall audio quality.
Bonus Materials on this release are ALL presented in full 1080p Hi-Def (HD) video quality with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo @384kbps sound.
- “The Innkeepers: Behind the Scenes” (7:28 – HD) is your basic “making of” featurette. It starts up with interviews with producer Derek Curl and writer/director Ti West discussing how they came to know about this real hotel (or inn rather) where this film was shot. They were staying at “The Yankee Pedlar Inn” when they were making the film “The House of the Devil” back in 2009 an members of the crew had some strange experiences. The staff at the hotel as well as local folks in the New England area all claim the hotel really is haunted. So, this struck the interest of Ti West and he used it as inspiration for the film. Next we get producer Peter Phok discussing how they got the permission from the folks at the Yankee Pedlar to let them shoot the film there. Interviews with other crew members are included as well as interviews with the primary cast members Sara Paxton, Dan Healy and Kelly McGillis discussing their characters in the film. You’ll find a good amount of behind-the-scenes on set footage here to give you an idea of what it was like for these folks making the film. This featurette feels a bit too short, as it’s the only featurette included, but it does prove to be very worthwhile none-the-less.
- Audio Commentary with Writer/Director/Editor Ti West, Producers Peter Phok & Larry Fessenden, and 2nd Unit Director/Sound Designer Graham Reznick
- Audio Commentary with Writer/Director/Editor Ti West and Stars Sara Paxton & Pat Healy
- Trailer (2:10 – HD)
Overall the bonus materials prove to be way too short but at the same time worthwhile. The fact there’s a choice of two audio commentaries that both feature the director Ti West is very cool. The “making of” featurette proves to be very informative and entertaining but is just too short at roughly 8 minutes in length. Finally, the inclusion of the trailer IS nice but I can find that on Apple’s trailers site in full 1080p as well or on YouTube. I’ll close by saying it would have helped if they would have offered a digital copy and/or DVD of the film to make it a “combo pack” and try to physically make up for the low amount of bonus materials but they have chose not to. I can understand why they opted against the digital copy as they’d rather sell it on iTunes and continue to make profit, for which I cannot blame them as this film only got a very limited theatrical release. They honestly deserve to make their money back as they’ve made a very impressive film.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Please be patient with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.