Though the film is still in post production with sound design apparently the order of the day the good folk at MPI have arrived at the American Film Market armed with three scenes from House of the Devil director Ti West's The Innkeepers. My love for House of the Devil is well documented - I believe it was the best American horror film of its year - so my expectations could not be much higher for this and I am very pleased to say that they were all met.
The scenes here were chosen not to showcase the scares of the movie - which revolves around the staff and guests of a supposedly haunted hotel on its final weekend before closing - but because they were the most complete and the most able to showcase the characters, the acting and the overall tone of the film. And they do all three very well indeed.
Scene one is a piece between Sara Paxton - pictured above - and Kelly McGillis with McGillis as a famous guest of the hotel and Paxton as a star struck employee. Scene two featured Paxton recording ambient sounds in the hotel laundry room in hopes of capturing a ghost. Scene three is a character moment between Paxton and costar Pat Healy as the hotel's only other employee.
Scenes one and three are clearly intended to present the characters of the film and all of the performances were fantastic, feeling very natural and realistic. The rapport between characters was excellent and Paxton is clearly more than capable of carrying the film on her shoulders. Scene two is more of a mood piece, the sound design and camera work - which very possibly borrows a page from the Sam Raimi play book, Raimi's two-by-four mounted camera rig from the Evil Dead movies being the only way I can imagine them actually having executed the shot - creating an unsettling, eerie environment.
What I got today was just a taste of West's latest but it was a good one. Hopefully there will be a teaser sometime soon.
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