(The gist: The Innkeepers came recommended to me by more than one source, so it made its way onto my must-watch new (to me) horror list. However, I was disappointed to discover it did not belong in my queue.)
I can appreciate a slow burn horror movie. It is one of the reasons I loved Oculus, which I know many horror lovers hated. I can especially respect the use of subtlety and suspense when it comes to ghost or haunting stories. It is appropriate and effective--when executed correctly.
However, I need some sort of burn in that slow burn. I need all that gradual time used to build my interest and suspense, capitalized upon to make me care about the plot and especially the characters. I want to be begging for the climax when it finally comes.
For me (and my unfortunate viewing partner), The Innkeepers failed across the board. I accepted the monotonous pace for the first chapter. I knew I had agreed to embark on a ghost story that was said to be slow-paced. I ignored the fact that I did not remotely connect with the characters and the acting bored me. I simply waited for the hook.
I must have missed the hook. They introduced the ghost story, which was flat and undeveloped. They offered anti climactic scenes of ghost hunting, where the subtlety was so muted it failed to build any suspense (or interest). I told myself the twist or conclusion must be where the brilliance was hiding.
I must have missed the brilliance too. When the ghosts finally emerged, they were adequately gruesome and frightful. Yet their split-second cameos were not enough for the time I had invested to get there, waiting to be affected.
I am told the ambiguity of the ending was the best part of the film. By the time that ending arrived, I was so mind numb and frustrated that I did not care. None of the characters were developed for me; I just wanted them to die off so the movie would end. By the epilogue, I was rolling my eyes and searching for the remote.
I cannot even say I liked the premise because, again, I did not care. The ghost story did not intrigue me; the haunting manifestations did not peak my interest.
For me, The Innkeepers was a series of flat and underdeveloped characters meandering (painfully) slowly through a thin and underworked plot. Ultimately, it was an hour and a half of horror viewing I will never get back.