By Drew Taylor | The Playlist January 3, 2012 at 4:03PM
Update: Looking to get out of the cold New York? Tomorrow night, January 4th, there's a special screening of "The Innkeepers" at the Nitehawk Cinema with director Ti West and Sara Paxton in attendance and we've got 2 pairs to tickets to give away. Email us and tell us the name of your favorite hotel horror movie to win. Contest is closed, winners will be contacted by email.
There were few films more divisive at last year's South by Southwest Film Festival than Ti West's creepy, kooky "The Innkeepers." We found the film to be an absolute delight and easily one of the highlights, not only of the midnight movie line-up, but the festival as a whole. Others disagreed. But now is your chance to weigh in! While the film doesn't hit theaters until February 3rd, it's available On Demand now - and thanks to Yahoo, you can get an exclusive sneak peek.
The film concerns a pair of slackers (played by "Shark Night" star Sara Paxton and a dude named Pat Healy) who work at a reportedly haunted hotel. The hotel is about to close, so the film follows their last ditch efforts to make supernatural contact. It has a loose, easy-going style, which makes this clip all the weirder. After a chatty and occasionally goofy opening, the last act gets seriously scary. It's a fine tonal balance, akin to something like Peter Jackson's "The Frighteners," but West pulls it off. This brief clip, though, focuses on the darker, more sinister final moments of the film. And while it's certainly effective, it doesn't represent the movie as a whole very well. This is clearly aimed at snagging the "Insidious" audience.
In the scene, Paxton is imploring a ghost to speak to them (so that they can record it on their lo-fi ghostbusting equipment), and the tension is palpable. West, who last made the nerve-fraying "House of the Devil," knows how to pile on the atmosphere, eeking out suspense courtesy of eerie background noise and ink-black shadows. It's good stuff, genuinely unsettling, but like we said, doesn't quite nail the overall tone of the movie, which is way more carnival ride than charnel house.
Either way, the scene is very much worth the watch. Again, "The Innkeepers" is available On Demand now and will hit select theaters on February 3rd.