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Swamp Thing

The Innkeepers

What He said:

She

It was very shocking to me, but prior to seeing it, I had legitimately never heard of this movie before.  I guess in some ways it shouldn’t be a surprise, Sara Paxton and Kelly McGillis aren’t exactly top billing names.   A little research showed me that this film only had a limited release. 

The Innkeepers tells the story of Claire and Luke, two employees at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, located somewhere in New England.  The inn is well-known as being haunted, but that hasn’t really helped to attract visitors, as it’s absolutely desolate.  In fact, the place is shutting down, and as the movie opens, the viewer is told that the Inn is in its final weekend and Claire and Luke are sleeping there as a skeleton staff.  The third floor of the building has already been cleaned, removed of furniture, and closed down.  Any inhabitants must stay on the second floor.  And there really are only three paying customers—a woman and her son, a mysterious old man who pays in cash, and Leanne Rease-Jones, an aging actress turned psychic.  Luke has a particular fascination with the much fabled haunting of the building by the ghost of Madeline O’Malley, and Claire agrees to help him document any happenings in the place.  They have some sort of sophisticated audio equipment to capture communications with.  For the most part, the story follows Claire as she begins to document her encounters, and the ghost(s) certainly don’t seem happy.

Swamp Thing

Sara Paxton plays the role of Claire, who is sort of your average late teens/early 20s nobody.  She’s recently dropped out of college, and doesn’t seem sure what she wants to do with herself.  What’s amazing about this movie is how well Paxton embodies the character.  Her mannerisms make Claire unbelievably real.  Likewise, Pat Healy does the same with the character of Luke.  Leanne plays a role in progressing the storyline, but you could really take her or leave her.  I actually don’t think she’s entirely necessary, and Kelly McGillis doesn’t bring much to the table.

Overall, the movie is very interesting, but only a few times actually scary.  The times when it is scary, it’ll definitely freak you out and make your skin crawl a bit.  But it takes a while to get there.  There’s a lot of build-up.  Fortunately, that’s filled with good acting and some enjoyable humor.  Some may complain that the movie isn’t scary enough, or that it takes too long to get to the point.  I, for the most part, really enjoyed the flick.  It’s probably been done before, but the filmmaking style made this feel pretty fresh to me.  If you can find this for a rental, give it a shot.  Especially around Halloween or late at night.

Thumbs up.

 

What He said:

He

When we watched this movie it was one of those situations where you didn’t plan on watching the whole thing, but got sucked in and ended up sticking with it. It’s not that we thought it looked bad, but we were planning on watching the most recent episode of Once Upon a Time and killing time. Well this movie ended up grabbing our attention and we decided to skip the first 20 or 30 minutes of OUAT.

The Innkeepers is about two employees at the Yankee Peddler Inn, a once-thriving hotel that is about to close permanently. Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) are also avid ghost hunters who are fascinated by the hotel’s history. Legend has it that a woman named Madeline O’Malley hung herself after her husband left her on the night of their honeymoon. It’s also rumored that the previous owners of the hotel hid her body in the basement out of fear for what it would do to the business. The two of them run a website dedicated to the hotel’s history and supposed sightings they’ve recorded.

The hotel is in its last weekend and almost completely empty. There is a woman and her child staying there. They seem to have been displaced from their home and have been taking up residence here in the meantime. There’s also a couple of new guests on the last few nights. Leann (Kelly McGillis) is a former actress who is in town for a convention. Claire was a fan of her as a kid and is a little taken with her.  The other guest is an elderly gentleman who shows up for a one night stay; the last night the inn is open.

Swamp Thing

This is one of those movies that is a tough review, because I feel if I say too much I could be giving something away. This movie has a very specific pace. It is crafted in a way that is meant to give you just enough to keep you interested, but string you along until the final conclusion. Some might find that approach boring, I did not. I found it to be a productive way of having the story unfold before the viewer’s eyes.  I also think it helped that characters seemed like very real people. I actually felt like I was watching the day in the life of these people. It worked on many levels, one of which was the humor. I thought this movie was surprisingly amusing. Sarah Paxton in particular, was quite funny. She portrayed this normal, everyday kid in a very believable and amusing way. It added a sense of realism to the movie and was part of the reason I ended up watching the whole thing when I was only really trying to kill some time.

Diagnosis: Thumbs up.

 

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on November 2, 2012.