The Innkeepers

Four Rooms

The release of Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel has me ready for a vacation. Preferably one where I don’t have to sleep with Ralph Fiennes. Fortuantely, a century of movies has offered a reasonable amount of alternatives by way of postcard porn. On the lam, on the case or on holiday, there are a lot of films that take us away from our normal lives and into the sweet embrace of resort living — in places real and fictitious. Since it’s the weekend, let’s all grab some sunglasses and an animal mask for a little virtual getaway.

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IntroHorrorJudgment

Let’s not pretend for a second that most horror movie characters function past the same depth and motivation as your average porn movie repair man. Everything is a set up to get to the main course, which in this case is terrible bodily harm. All of that said, some characters do tend to be much stupider than others – or at least dip into an insane moment of stupidity from time to time. After all, how are they going to get killed in that abandoned house without at some point thinking it’s a good idea to enter it? Let’s all run up the stairs together:

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Eli Roth and Ti West

Ever since Cabin Fever became a hit in 2002, its director, Eli Roth, has seen himself rocketed to the top of the movie game. Not only did he go on to direct the wildly successful Hostel series, but he also found himself in a position to become an actor, a frequent collaborator of Quentin Tarantino’s, and a producer of a whole slate of genre pictures. Through it all though, West has kept his focus largely on horror, and with his upcoming project, The Green Inferno, he’s finally set to return to the genre as a director. Ti West, comparatively, isn’t as big a name in the grand scheme of the industry. But if you talk to horror aficionados, this maker of low-key, indie horror is one of the most exciting names to come along in quite a while. By directing films like House of the Devil and The Innkeepers, West has proven that disgusting gore and shocking schlock aren’t the only ways to get attention in the scare game. Age old tactics like building tension, establishing mood, and paying things off with a big climax can be just as effective, if not more so. The big news is that Roth and West seem to be teaming up.

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If you’re not familiar with Ti West by know, you really should be. This up and coming genre director really blew the doors off with his 80s horror homage The House of the Devil and his latest film The Innkeepers is another great example of his directing style, building tension slowly but surely to a fever pitch before letting it all boil over in spectacular fashion. For his first effort, Dark Sky went along with that love letter to the 80s by creating a special clamshell VHS version of The House of the Devil which was sold via Amazon in combo packs with the DVD or Blu-ray. I am a proud owner of one of those VHS editions. With the home video release of The Innkeepers hitting, Dark Sky has done it again, this time creating a vinyl-style gatefold edition of the Blu-ray, that is, in a word, gorgeous. However, this time they’ve done a super limited run of only 400 copies, none of which are for sale. So how did you get your grubby hands on a copy? Why the magic of internet movie sites, that’s how!

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This Week in DVD

There’s an unusual trend in this week’s releases in that they’re genre heavy with a high percentage of horror films for some reason. I love horror movies, but sadly only two of the six genre titles covered below are really worth your time and money. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Innkeepers The Yankee Pedlar Inn is closing its doors for good, and only two employees remain for its last few days of very light occupancy. Claire (the ridiculously adorable Sara Paxton) and Luke (the equally adorable but in a totally different way Pat Healy) wile away the late night hours hunting for the Inn’s supposed resident ghost, but what begins with a pair of overactive imaginations soon becomes a terrifying reality. Ti West’s second feature shows a deft hand at pacing, humor and scares and delivers beautifully on all three counts. Best of all, this is a rarity among genre films in that it manages to make you care for the characters and fear for their safety. And did I mention Paxton is freaking adorable?

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Ti West’s The Innkeepers was a hell of horror film – trenchant atmosphere, frightening moments and an antique feeling matched with the modern boredom of minimum wage. Now, we’re giving away a ton of great stuff from the movie. Two (2) winners will receive a special, limited edition (only 400 will ever exist) vinyl-style fold-out Blu-ray copy of the movie signed by writer/director Ti West. Check out the pictures below. One (1) winner will receive the truly gorgeous Dude Designs version of the poster signed by West and stars Sara Paxton and Pat Healy. Five (5) winners will receive the standard DVD copy of the film. So how do you enter to win? Excellent question:

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The Coroner

Director (/writer/editor/producer) Ti West is one of those low budget, independent filmmakers that has managed to secure a lot of attention for himself and amass a pretty devoted following, both in audiences and in critical circles alike. Having seen the bulk of his films, I was never quite won over. He made waves with The House of the Devil, a slow, slow, slow burn of a film that was cool and creepy, but ultimately just a little too…slow. It came as no surprise when his film The Innkeepers again started garnering praise – after all, even his less than great films got a lot of attention. Now, even at less than great, the films are often watchable if not outright good, just of a much different tempo than I prefer. That said, I pressed play on The Innkeepers knowing little other than Ti West made it and people seemed to love it.

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Editor’s note: This review was originally published as part of our SXSW 2011 coverage on March 17, 2011. We’re bumping this baby back up to remind all of you dear readers that the film is finally hitting limited theaters this Friday, February 3. Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) do not have what you might call glamorous jobs. They manage the front desk at the oldest hotel in town that just happens to be closing its doors forever. These unflappable, amateur paranormal investigators decide that their last hurrah will involve drinking beer and capturing definitive proof that this tiny little inn is indeed haunted. But when a washed up actress-turned psychic checks into the hotel, she becomes convinced that the novel little pastime these two share may end up being their undoing. I don’t know, I’ve had worse jobs. I really enjoyed The Innkeepers. It’s a very basic horror film that actually benefits as much from its comedic elements as it does its frights. The crux of the film is the relationship between Sara Paxton and Pat Healy who play the desk clerks at the failed Yankee Peddler Inn. I had a blast with these two wannabe ghost hunters. Their dry back-and-forth fosters some fantastic laughs. The dialogue batted between them is very genuine which is both a compliment and a criticism; it’s genuine to a fault. Occasionally, though not often, the lines ring true but un-cinematic in a way that makes them flat and dull. It’s a strange […]

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The Walking Dead

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly hand-in-hand stroll down Newsworthy Lane, with a stop at the Noteworthy Café for a bite to eat. Then we’ll head back to my place and I’ll show you my signature move, the Well-Researched Scoop (I have two sources that will confirm its quality on the record). What do you say, baby? We begin this evening with part of a new midseason poster for The Walking Dead. Which brings to mind the question of the hour: Is anyone still exciting about this show? Sure, it has the occasional zombie and it was nice to see Glen “make a friend,” but beyond that, it’s become tired, has it not?

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In our first show of the 2012 season, we set off the filmmaking fireworks by finding out why Innkeepers director Ti West doesn’t believe in spooks, and by talking to indie icon Ed Burns about the twitter revolution, his $9,000 budget, and his new must-see movie Newlyweds. Plus, Neil Miller stops by to dangle the hope and potential of 2012’s most anticipated movies over our noses. Will he say the movie you’re thinking of and validate his opinion to you, or will he neglect it, making everything he says in the future suspect? Be prepared to find out a metric ton about movies and their makers, because it’s our third season, and we’re only getting started. Download This Episode

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we talk with director Jake Kasdan about the horror of getting Cameron Diaz all wet for Bad Teacher. Plus, The Innkeepers and House of the Devil director Ti West offers up his favorite scary movie, and we chat with a man who got a movie deal by posting on Reddit. Download This Episode

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If you somehow aren’t aware by now, we take Fantastic Fest pretty seriously ’round these parts. America’s largest genre festival will kick the doors off the hinges for its 7th incarnation this September, and your faithful crew here at Starship Reject could not be more excited. As always, we’ll be assembling our Fantastic Fest Death Squad to attempt the insane goal of reviewing each and every film that plays this year. Take a gander at some of the titles that have jumped out at us from this latest batch. First up is Lars Von Trier‘s Melancholia. Antichrist was huge at Fantastic Fest back in 2009, and the buzz out of Cannes and from a brief run in LA has me chomping at the bit to see Von Trier’s latest as soon as possible. While certainly polarizing, Von Trier is also an extremely versatile and uncompromising filmmaker, and I can’t wait to see him put his own unique spin on a story with sci-fi elements. You can bet the Rejects will be first in line for this one come September. You also know we’re looking forward to You’re Next, the new film from the team behind last year’s A Horrible Way to Die. While their previous effort wasn’t a perfect film, the last 20 minutes in particular were chilling and showed quite a bit of promise with their fresh take on serial killer celebrity. Adam Wingard returns to direct You’re Next, and genre favorite AJ Bowen joins a cast that includes […]

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South By Southwest has already begun heating up, but there are still plenty of movies and buckets of Schlitz to go. If you’re in Austin right now, you’re probably puzzling day to day over what you’re going to see. If you’re not in Austin, you’re probably still wondering what might escape the confines of the festival to see theaters near you. Although there’s no guarantee (except for a few big names we already know will see theaters), here are the hot tickets that might just earn themselves distribution deals. Our intrepid SXSW patrol (comprised of Adam Charles, Jack Giroux, Rob Hunter, Neil Miller, Luke Mullen and Brian Salisbury) have put together a list of what they’re most looking forward to for your reading and viewing pleasure. Keep in mind, there are over 250 movies playing this year, so this represents only a small amount of the quality programming. These are the movies that stand out even amongst the best of the best at the fest. Check it out for yourself:

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So you’ve eaten at Pita Pit and Best Wurst (because there’s nothing wrong with two lunches) and you’re scoping out theaters ready to get more movies on, but you have no idea what you’re going to see. That teary indie drama or that ridiculous sci-fi comedy? You don’t know do you? And you can’t figure it out on your own for some reason. Fortunately, we’ve created this handy guide to help you in your time of duress. Use it wisely. There’s no chance it’ll send you to the porno theater across the highway, so if you end up there, it’s on you.

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There are 130 films this year at Austin’s SXSW, and 60 of them being world premieres. When you scroll down the list of the films showing there, 99% of them you’ve never heard of before. Only a handful stick out that you actually know about or have eagerly (or mildly…) been anticipating. The films at the fest that currently are the most exciting for us are also the most high profile. That’s not to say there won’t be far superior little known flicks playing there – there most definitely will be – but the big ones showing are always the early attention grabbers. We’ll be running a bigger and more comprehensive list of SXSW must-sees closers to the fest, which is basically when we’ll have more info on the films there that aren’t being released by Universal or Summit. But as of right now, here are a few features that already got our excitement on high. As for those of you interested right now in knowing more about those 130 films, check out the full list here.

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If you want to be one of the first people on the planet to see Mel Gibson with a puppet on his hand and a psychological block on his brain, you’ll want to head down to SXSW this year. In fact, you might want to be there anyway because 1) there are always some stellar movies 2) there’s a great gyro place right down the street and 3) we’ll be there. The Beaver will get its world premiere there, as will Paul. Two highly anticipated movies that will have their first real audiences before seeing wide release later in the Spring. The rest of the list (of films so far announced) includes a ghostly thriller from Ti West, Conan O’Brien’s ability to go all night long, and proof that John Melloncamp still exists. All of these films will join the ranks of the opening night movie – Source Code.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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