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welcome to the Yankee Pedlar...please don't bother us...


Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis

Luke:  Pessimism is just a higher form of optimism.  If you expect nothing from people, then you go through life being pleasantly surprised.

It’s the last weekend for the Yankee Pedlar Inn.  The hotel is about to close down, and two of its employees have been left to look after it – and its handful of guests.  Claire (Paxton) and Luke (Healy) are geeky friends who share an interest in the paranormal world.  This legendarily haunted hotel might hold a few surprises for them before it sees its last day…

A couple years ago I saw a movie called The House of the Devil.  It was a sort of throwback style horror movie, well directed by a guy named Ti West.  When I noticed his name was attached to another horror movie, The Innkeepers, it caught my attention.

While this movie doesn’t quite achieve as interesting of an atmosphere as The House of the Devil, it still succeeds in being enjoyable for about the same percentage of the movie as that earlier Ti West effort.  Unfortunately, both suffer from weak endings.

The interesting thing about this movie is, I enjoyed it more for the comedy and character development.  Claire and Luke have a good chemistry together, and the humor has a subtle, real feel to it.  They’re likable, relatable characters, which results in greater tension because we actually care about them.  Funny how that works…

I had never heard of Sara Paxton before, but it looks like she’s been around for quite a while, with earlier roles in a lot of kid/teen stuff, but more recently in grown up roles like in The Last House on the Left and Shark Night.  In this movie, she’s kind of a geeky loser who has resigned herself to a life of menial jobs, like the one she currently has at the Yankee Pedlar.  I liked her performance a lot.  It’s different, and in a movie with a story that isn’t exactly original or attention grabbing, you need interesting characters.  Paxton and Pat Healy do a nice job of creating those characters.

Less interesting is Kelly McGillis as an aging actress who has turned to the world of spiritual healing.  She has a few good moments, but seems more like just a plot convenience than a fully formed character.

My main complaint about the movie would be that at the end, I was left thinking, “…that’s it?”  There’s not much closure or resolution to this one.  It’s simply a haunted house story with more laughs (intentional, thankfully) than scares.  It almost feels like a case where there was a more complex original ending that didn’t make it to the final film.  Instead, they just went with something simple, and almost completely unsatisfying.  Which is a shame because much of the film leading up to that had me interested in where it was going.

Oh well, at least I got to see Sara Paxton be cute and goofy for an hour and a half…

Don’t go in the basement…

10 – 2 because the ending just felt so unsatisfying – .8 for the general story being pretty uninspired – .7 for lacking quality character development outside of the main two characters = 6.5