I really didn’t care for House of the Devil. I know. I can sense each of you clutching your pearls in horror. That flick was the darling of many a horror blogger in the run up to its general release when those of us not lucky enough to catch it early at a film fest and bask in the warm glow of hype finally got a chance to see what everyone was talking about. It just didn’t move me. Personally, I thought it wasted all of its potential on keeping its time in a bottle quality consistent as if we were really watching a movie made in the early 80’s. I understand that that’s what a lot of people liked best about it but I’ve seen enough of those movies that try to capture a particularly nostalgic character of our dear beloved horror genre. Ti West proved himself a capable filmmaker with House of the Devil but left me wondering if he could tell a quality story. With The Innkeepers, I’m hoping that he rights the ship and leaves me cold sweats.
This trailer seems to have all the right moves. Haunted house flicks seem to me to be the hardest sort of horror movie to do right because you have to take a measured approach to your filmmaking craft. Major Hollywood productions chasing ghostly spooks and creeps fare seem to botch the process every time, convinced that what we as a horror movie audience want to see is elaborate and grotesque monster make up. To a huge studio sinking millions of dollars into production and marketing, it doesn’t seem to make sense that phantom sounds and unexplained phenomena is enough to move ticket buyers in the general direction of the box office but when you’re working independently and budget appropriations for future projects don’t hinge on a strong opening weekend, you have a certain freedom to let your imagination run wild and make the kind of picture that you want. My personal favorite haunted house movie is Michael Winner’s ‘The Sentinel’, a seriously spooky flick from the man who brought you ‘Death Wish’. It’s a total fluke and it seems like West and I share a particular fondness for that one seeing as how West’s latest feature seems to capture The Sentinel’s vibe without pointing directly at it and namechecking it. Sure, you have some shock shots of gruesome ghosts but it seems to also let your imagination run wild with some spooky ammo courtesy of the power of suggestion and a quality audio track. Check it below and let me know what you think. I had a feeling we were seeing a new film talent rise out of Ti West but House of the Devil wasn’t it. I suspect that The Innkeepers may be the movie that makes him a household name.