THE INKEEPERS (2012, Ti West): 5/10
Suffers from pretty much the same problem as THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL: an hour of painfully slow buildup and then a less-than-satisfying payoff. Look, I’m all for the slow buildup — horror is at its best when suspense builds so slowly that you’re shouting at the screen for something to give. But West, who is undoubtedly skilled with the camera, simply can’t deliver the goods when it comes time to cash in his suspense chips. His characters make terrible decisions that ruin our sympathy for them and interest in their outcome. And his visual shocks (there are one or two in this film that tower over the mediocre chills offered by HOUSE) still aren’t strong enough to warrant the ridiculous amount of time setting them up. Both of these recent chillers would have been fine at 45 minutes. But his need to make a feature length film out of concepts that just aren’t interesting enough to fill it out will continue to be his Achilles heel. For homework before his next feature, he should watch Alejandro Amenabar’s masterful THE OTHERS to see a carefully-paced, fundamentally rich ghost story at its best.
By the way, Kelly McGillis is the portrait to Tom Cruise’s Dorian Gray, isn’t she?