November 21, 2012 -- “The Inkeepers” is a fairly straightforward ghost story set in an old hotel which is about to close due to bankrupcy. The hotel is the Yankee Pedlar Inn in Torrington, Connecticut, which is a real place, still very much in business, complete with the occasional murder myster party weekend. Of course in this film, the idea is to make this nice place look like it is creepy and haunted.
Two employees of the hotel, Claire, (played by Sara Paxton of “Superhero Movie”) and Luke (Pat Healy of “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”) spend their time gossiping about the guests and investigating paranormal activity in the old hotel. Luke is building a web page about the hotel featuring ghost stories. The best-known of these stories is the one about Madeline O'Malley (Brenda Cooney of “The House of the Devil”). Madeline O'Malley, the story goes was abandoned by her fiancé on her wedding day and committed suicide in the Yankee Pedlar Inn.
Since the hotel is about to close in a couple of days, Claire and Luke pay little attention to their few guests. One of them, Gayle (Alison Bartlett of “The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland”) a mother temporarily separated from her husband, is staying at the hotel with her young son (Jake Ryan of “Moonrise Kingdom”). Gayle is shocked and angered by Claire's behavior and angrily leaves the hotel, which turns out to be a good move. That leaves the inkeepers with only two guests remaining, both mysterious.
A famous actress, Leanne Rease-Jones (played by an actual famous actress, Kelly McGillis of “Witness” and “Top Gun”) who has retired from acting to become a psychic healer, is staying in a room on the second floor, while a mysterious old man (George Riddle of “The Pompatus of Love”) checks in late and insists on staying in a particular room on the third floor, even though the third floor has been closed and most of the furniture has been removed. He is staying in the rooom, he says, for sentimental reasons.
In the dark of the night, Claire goes looking for ghosts, equipped with a tape recorder to pick up any ghostly sounds. To her surprise, the bloody ghost of Madeline O'Malley shows up. Claire, who suffers from asthma, is scared silly. She consults with Leanne Rease-Jones, who pulls out a New Age crystal and does a psychic reading for her. Leanne Rease-Jones contacts the spirits of the hotel and advises Claire not to go into the basement. So guess where Claire goes? Oh, these people are so predictable. You would think they could at least get better flashlights.
The acting is pretty good, and the characters are interesting, but the screenplay lacks the imagination it takes to elevate this story above the ordinary, predictable level of a common ghost story. It doesn't help this was also done on the cheap. It rates a C.
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