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(R) In his fifth feature—the third since gaining notoriety in the larger horror and film community for The House of the Devil—writer-director Ti West again proves a master of controlled terror in tight quarters (a very John Carpenter-esque trait) in The Innkeepers. The Yankee Pedlar Inn is about to close down for good. On its final weekend, employees Claire (Sara Paxton, The Last House on the Left) and Luke (Pat Healy) plan to finally nab some evidence of the ghost they believe to be haunting the place. West uses the creepy, claustrophobic setting to establish the same retro-horror vibe of House of the Devil, and as with the previous film, criticisms that the film is more scary atmosphere than scary action can be levied. More power to West, if he wishes for a Wiser Haunting vibe than most modern ghost flicks. The strong casting helps. Paxton is becoming an undervalued scream queen, and Healy’s proper balance of levity and terror parallels the film’s deft handling of those oft ill-mixed tones. As a genre fanatic, I cannot wait to see West’s future scare tactics.


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