The Innkeepers

It’s the final weekend of business for the dilapidated, rumored-to-be-haunted Yankee Pedlar Inn (an actual, still-operating “haunted” New England destination). That means it’s also the last chance for its curious, charmingly geeky employees Luke (Pat Healy) and Claire (Sara Paxton) to discover if there’s any truth to those rumors. During their waning days on-site they banter, drink beer, trade off shifts so the other can sleep, and briefly interact with the few remaining guests, consisting of a dejected woman and her young son, a boozing television star turned mystic (played by Kelly McGillis), and later a creepy old man who insists on staying in his former honeymoon suite located on the now-off-limits third floor. But most notably, the low-tech ghost-hunting duo explores the premises with recording gear in tow, persistent in their search for supernatural evidence.

It’s said that slow and steady wins the race, and the film’s careful build to its (surprising) resolution is indeed victorious. So too are the perfectly attuned performances by Healy and Paxton (who fares immeasurably better than in the dreadful Shark Night, where her sole purpose was to look cute in a bikini), the confined setting (almost entirely limited to the inn), and the tone (just the right blend of frights and fun).

If his spot-on Eighties-retro House of the Devil (09) further established Ti West as the real deal, The Innkeepers has clinched it.