One day of Halloween horror just isn’t enough here at FILM IN WORDS, therefore, we’ve curated 31 days’ worth of fearful filmmaking to sink your teeth into throughout October. Be afraid . . . very afraid.
Words: Brody Rossiter
LAST OF THE LIVING
It’s cold, dark, and you’re trapped behind the desk of an ageing, creaking hotel, that is possibly haunted by the vengeful ghost of a scorned bride. All you have for company is your hipster buddy, his thick-rimmed glasses, and a laptop loaded with ghost hunting material (and his porn) for you to attentively pore over for the duration of your final shift. Directed by one of modern horror’s most successful auteurs, Ti West, The Innkeepers follows Claire and Luke as they lame-out the last night of business at the historic Yankee Pedlar Inn, alongside the very few guests that still remain – both living and not so living.
Similarly to West’s 2009 feature The House of The Devil, The Innkeepers is a hybrid of contemporary characterisation and old-fashioned lore; a classic ghost story updated with recognisable modern faces, immersing you through its relatable scenario of being saddled with a crappy, minimum wage job. You remember those late night shifts during which your imagination would run wild to fend off the intense boredom of being stuck behind a counter or till, counting the minutes and dwindling customers. The stylistic elements of 70s and 80s horror mainstays such as Friday the 13th, The Exorcist, and Don’t Look Now are once again present as West manages to summon an incredibly creepy tone throughout – constantly threatening to genuinely scare and freak you out rather than cheaply gross you out with gore.
Alongside leading lady and intrepid ghost hunter Sara Paxton, you get a cameo from Girls’ Lena Dunham, a major role from Top Gun’s Kelly McGillis, and a few monsters who will undoubtedly leave you peeking through parted fingers in anticipation of what awaits in the darkest recesses of that once grand hotel. So check out The Innkeepers if you want to laugh, be ashamed about how many times you jumped and ultimately discover a horror movie that despite being indebted to the past feels highly original.