You know what’s great about haunted house type movies directed by Ti West? A lot of things.
I was pretty surprised to see the stars of this movie linked to their character names in the opening credits. I can’t recall any films doing this lately unless it’s the special guest star or some horsewash like that. It brings a little tear to my eye to know that Ti wants to be up front and honest with us from the jump and it only gets better because that’s what this movie is: Honest.
Claire and Luke are the last remaining employees of the Yankee Pedlar Inn, a hotel finally shutting it’s doors after a rich history. It’s based on a “true” haunting and is actually filmed in the haunted hotel. In the hotel’s final weekend of operation, the two are determined to gather evidence for a little side-project. Paranormal Investigation. You see, this hotel has a sordid past filled with intrigue and suicide. You cannot help but to love both of these characters, which is something that I find rarely in a horror flick. Can you guess why? No? Okay, I’ll tell you because I don’t want to play a game of twenty questions: They are honest characters. What I mean is that these are genuine characters. Clarie’s adorable naivete and curiosity is a perfect match for Luke’s playful cynicism and pseudo-sage quality. It’s a mentor/pupil relationship that is played brilliantly and honestly. They are your friends. They are your relatives. These are characters, not caricatures.
This film openly pokes fun at the “Jump Scare” tactic employed by many flicks you’ve seen in the past two decades. It even throws a couple at you after the fact to keep you on your toes, but understand that if you think this is all the movie offers, you have another thing coming. And it’s a god damned ghost. And it’s going to get you.
The evidence they are trying to gather is of the existence of Madaline O’Malley, a woman who hung herself at the Yankee Pedlar Inn after being left at the alter by her fiance. In true ghost story form, a terrible tragedy occurred which kept her spirit in a state of eternal unrest. After her death, to save the hotel from bad publicity, her body was hidden in the basement until it could be removed unnoticed causing her to roam the halls, allegedly.
The hotel gets a new customer, actress turned spiritual healer, Leanne Rease-Jones. She has crystals and she knows how to use them. After a night of EVP recording and spooky goings on, our Claire turns to “Lea” for guidance and gets it, in the form of light seance. Lea becomes ghost-privy to some ghost-info, but decides not to share all of her knowledge. Never a good sign.
Another customer happens by, a creepy old man played by Joad Cressbeckler who is looking to spend the night in the room he and his wife spent their honeymoon in. It warms the heart.
Since the hotel is closing anyway, the two employees throw back a few cold Schiltz’ and begin some more EVP work. They discover that there may be real evidence here after all and head to the basement, despite the warnings given by the spiritual authority/washed up actress. This is when things get real. This is when we become aware that jested “Jump Scares” are simply misdirection. This is where Ti West proves, yet again, that he knows how to make horror movies.
I can’t recommend this movie enough. The sometimes playful score really sets the mood just right. The honesty in the “taking out the garbage” and “eating sandwiches” scenes is really spectacular. This also has one of the creepiest images I’ve seen lately and I won’t soon forget it.
- What’s the deal with the mother and her son?
- Why can’t I have a beer with Ti West?
Did you see it? Let me know what you think in the comments!
Are you Ti West? Can we grab a beer?
Netflix instant queue as of 10/07/2012