Movie review: The Innkeepers

By Columbus Alive
From the February 16, 2012 edition

The indie-ish haunted house tale “The Innkeepers” isn’t a groundbreaker, but it seemed to have a lot going for it.

Magnet, the studio that released it, has kicked out some great cult-worthy genre stuff. Check out “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” or “The Last Circus” streaming on Netflix for examples.

Unfortunately, “Innkeepers” checks out without delivering the expected scares.

Days are waning for the Yankee Pedlar Inn, an old New England hotel with the requisite tales of it being haunted.

Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) are the last remaining employees. There aren’t many guests to deal with these days, so they spend their spare time hoping to document a little bit of paranormal activity.

The early tone of “Innkeepers” is unexpectedly quirky, like a fun little workplace romp that happens to be set in a haunted hotel.

Paxton is kinda charming, in that wrinkled-nose Zooey Deschanel way (which is a bit odd in a horror flick).

But director Ti West builds a lot of nice tension that he doesn’t pay off. He should be commended for not getting cheap scares the way most of these movies do, but there’s just not enough here.

If you need your horror, it’ll scratch the itch, though “The Woman in Black” is scarier.