Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Directed by Ti West

Sarah Paxton - Claire
Pat Healy - Luke
Kelly McGillis - Leanne Rease-Jones

     During the final days at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, two employees determined to reveal the hotel's haunted past begin to experience disturbing events as old guests check in for a stay.

      This is the way to start out the new year. One of my top 10 movies to see this year within the first week of 2012! I first started hearing about this movie last year when it was on the festival circuit. So after waiting to see if it would actually release last year and nothing came of it, I was quite disappointed. Well thankfully that disappointment has turned to joy. Now let's hope the movie lives up to my expectations!

      I just have to say that Sarah Paxton, who plays Claire,was just fantastic in this film. She was great in the Last House On The Left remake, where she had to play a tough role, yet in this she actually shows what she's capable of and that she's a very believable younger actress. When she shows fear it's not like in most wide release movies where the female is all screaming at the smallest gust of wind, but genuine fear that is palatable.  And then there's Pat Healy as Luke. I actually believe Healy was having fun in this role as he just has to be an asshole through most of his scenes. Though just like Paxton, Healy can show actual fear which helped cement his character in reality. Then there is Kelly McGillis playing Leanne Rease-Jones.  McGillis to me had the hardest role to play as a psychic. The whole film could have crumpled if she tried to overplay her part. Instead she tries to ground her performance in reality as much as possible and in return made her character more relate-able. 

     Now as far as the story goes, I'm going to break it up into three parts, which is the same way the film is set up. In the first act we're introduced to all the characters and how they interact with one another. It's during this time we find out the little quirks of the Paxton's Claire and Healy's Luke. It's not a stretch to say that Luke is a asshole while Claire seems like she's trying to find out what to do with her life. It's was quite nice to see two people on screen in a horror movie acting like true normal people. The second act is when the normalcy of life starts to break away for Claire and her search for ghosts at the Yankee Pedlar Inn. It's also when McGillis's character comes into play. I will say that it is very important to listen to what McGillis's character says. I'm not going to say why as it will take away what happens later on in the film. The third act is when everything falls apart for Claire. The true feelings of Luke comes out during this act, which I'm still trying to decide if Claire really realized what he was saying or just chose to ignore him to help save his feelings. We also find out that Luke wasn't telling the truth throughout the whole film and what he does is almost the ultimate asshole move until he comes back.Yep, I officially hated Luke during most of this act, which just goes to show how invested in the characters you become.

     Now for those that are wondering why I was so vague through most of this review so far is because by giving away to much is to ruin the film for those that haven't seen it yet. One of the biggest complaints I've heard about the movie is that it's slow moving. And to that I just have to say that those people should stop watching the massed produced MTV joke direction in movies that has taken over what is considered horror these days. I love slow burn type of films that take time to explore the characters we see on screen, as we get to know their quirks, their passions, and this is one of the better ones. It actually takes the time to let the audience get to know the key players and creates a sense well being and peace before all hell breaks loose for Claire. The film is shot very clean and depends on atmosphere more than scare after scare to set the tone. This works wonders as when the scares do  happen it's much more scary and unexpected. My one small gripe is that director Ti West gives away one of the scenes at the end by spending to much time on Claire earlier in the movie. Those that know what to look for will see it right away, yet thankfully it doesn't take away anything away from the viewing experience. I can think of no better way to start out the year by watching a great horror film, this was one, and hopefully the rest of the year will follow suit.

     There was no deaths on screen this time, so how about a dead man in a tub from the film instead!

     Oh shit.

     The film was filmed exclusively in Torrington, Connecticut.

     The actual first showing of the film was at the Get Lit Winter Party 2010 in Hollywood, California.


  1. I cant wait to watch this. Ti West created such an effective atmosphere in House of the Devil. I am a big fan of the slow burn suspense.

  2. The film is more than worth watching, and you'll love it if you like slow burn type of films.