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DARK SKY FILMS

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Ti West
Cast:
Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Alison Bartlett, Jake Ryan, Kelly McGillis
Writing Credits:
Ti West

Tagline:
Some guests never check out.

Synopsis:
After over one hundred years of service, The Yankee Pedlar Inn is shutting its doors for good. The last remaining employees - Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy)- are determined to uncover proof of what many believe to be one of New England's most haunted hotels. As the Inn's final days draw near, odd guests check in as the pair of minimum wage "ghost hunters" begin to experience strange and alarming events that may ultimately cause them to be mere footnotes in the hotel's long unexplained history.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$29.557 thousand on 25 screens.
Domestic Gross
$77.501 thousand.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 101 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 4/24/2012

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director/Editor Ti West, Producers Peter Phok and Larry Fessenden, and 2nd Unit Director/Sound Designer Graham Reznick
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director/Editor Ti West and Actors Sara Paxton and Pat Healy
• “Behind the Scenes” Featurette
• Trailer
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Innkeepers [Blu-Ray] (2011)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 22, 2012)

Back in 2010, I took a look at Ti West’s horror flick House of the Devil. I regretted it. I thought the movie was a complete snoozer and found little to redeem it.

So why did I select to check out West’s follow-up, 2011’s The Innkeepers? Because the press person handling it asked very nicely. In the spirit of “one hand washes the other”, I figured a review was the least I could do.

Besides, maybe West would deliver something more interesting with Innkeepers. Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) are the sole employees on duty at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, an old hotel that will finally shut its doors due to lack of business. Both maintain an interest in the paranormal, which is part of the reason they signed on at the supposedly-haunted Inn.

That area involves the legend of Madeline O’Malley, and both Claire and Luke try to investigate this during the last few days at the Pedlar. We follow their adventures as well as their interactions with the smattering of inn guests – and whatever spookiness occurs along the way.

Probably my main complaint about House of the Devil stemmed from its lethargic pacing; it moved so slowly that by the time anything happened, I found it impossible to care. While Innkeepers takes its time as well, I don’t think it suffers from the same problems. Yes, it tends to progress in a leisurely manner, but that style better fits this story.

Innkeepers also always manages to create the impression of progress. Even when it lollygags across the screen, it still feels like it’s going somewhere. I suspect the nature of the plot benefits it; given that it’s intended to be a low-key creepfest at its heart, we’re not as impatient for Big Scares as we otherwise might be.

Indeed, Innkeepers fares best when it emphasizes the atmospheric side of things. Probably the film’s most effective scenes come from those that focus on the basic investigation of paranormal activity; these come across as surprisingly tight and tense. Even though nothing overtly scary comes from them, we’re left with a feeling of tension.

Innkeepers also feels surprisingly real, partly because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The lead characters come across as likable and genuine, so we’re happy to spend time with them. The film doesn’t really attempt to poke fun at the genre, but it shows some self-awareness; unlike the self-serious Devil, Innkeepers tries to have a good time with its subject matter.

All of this results in a fairly good ghost movie. Nothing about Innkeepers manages to dazzle, and it loses some points for its ending; things go a little too “big” at the finale. Still, it’s a fairly creepy, involving piece that manages to achieve most of its goals.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

The Innkeepers appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The movie boasted a generally positive presentation but not a great one.

For the most part, sharpness seemed good. The image could be a little soft at times, but that wasn’t a major concern. Overall clarity remained solid, and the image lacked problems like jaggies, shimmering and haloes. A handful of specks cropped up through the movie.

Like virtually all modern horror flicks, Innkeepers went with a stylized palette. We got desaturated, earthy tones most of the time, so don’t expect anything dynamic. These suited the movie. Blacks were reasonably dark and dense, and shadows were acceptable; low-light shots could be somewhat murky, though. This wasn’t a great image, but it was acceptable.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio, it offered a fairly typical horror movie soundscape. This meant a lot of creepy atmosphere and occasional “jolt moments”. I thought the track used the elements in a compelling manner. While it didn’t offer real “demo moments”, it created a spooky soundfield that accentuated the movie’s story.

Audio quality was always good. Music appeared full and rich, while effects demonstrated nice clarity and accuracy. Speech was natural and distinctive throughout the film. Again, this wasn’t a heavily active track, but it made sense for the flick.

In terms of extras, we find two separate audio commentaries. The first involves writer/director/editor Ti West, producers Peter Phok and Larry Fessenden, and 2nd unit director/sound designer Graham Reznick. All four sit together for a running, screen-specific chat, though Fessenden arrives late. They cover the Yankee Pedlar location, the opening credits and use of chapter cards, music and sound design, story/character subjects, cast and performances, influences and genre notes, camerawork and editing, and a few other production areas.

That’s a good array of subjects, and the track covers them in a reasonably involving manner. However, it never really kicks into a higher gear, and occasional lulls occur. This is still a generally solid chat, but it tends to drag a little more than I’d like

For the second track, we hear from Ti West and actors Sara Paxton and Pat Healy. They deliver another running, screen-specific piece that goes over cast and performances, story and characters, locations and sets, and other general movie-making areas.

While the first commentary had a fair amount of good information, it lacked much personality. The second chat seems more fun but it doesn’t tell us a lot of useful material. We learn a little along the way, but don’t expect much depth from it. It’s more entertaining and spritely than the first commentary, but the earlier track is the more valuable.

Next we find a Behind the Scenes. It goes for seven minutes, 28 seconds as it includes notes from West, Phok, Fessenden, Healy, Paxton, Reznick, producer Derek Curl, production designer Jade Healy, and actors Kelly McGillis and George Riddle. The program offers a general take on the production, with an emphasis on the location, cast/characters and West’s impact on the film. You won’t get great depth here, but the piece manages to be breezy and enjoyable.

The disc opens with ads for Cold Sweat, Stakeland, and Wake Wood. We also get a trailer for Innkeepers.

While it does nothing to reinvent the genre, The Innkeepers produces a better than average ghost movie. It works best when it stays small and gets to us with its subtle chills. The Blu-ray provides decent picture, good audio and a couple of decent audio commentaries. Horror fans will likely enjoy this pretty involving effort.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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