West starts with a very stale premise and does essentially nothing to enliven it. He then provides us with a grating, quasi-Manic Pixie Dream Girl, hotel staffer heroine named Claire, high-strung and annoying as played by Sara Paxton. Revolving around her are a series of badly scripted parts, only one of which works even slightly: Luke (Pat Healy), Claire's tart fellow inn employee, who gets all of the film's halfway decent lines. It sucks that even Luke's character has to devolve into cliche at a certain point. But that's just the nature of the film. West is said to draw heavily from modern horror classics in a sort of nostalgic way. I'd say it's gotten to the point where his own voice is smothered by devotion to conventions. And these conventions aren't even good ones.
So a inn is being closed after a last weekend, and Claire and Luke are taking a few more guests (including a famous actress-cum-psychic, played by Kelly McGillis) while also investigating the hotel for paranormal activity. Sounds like this could be kinda fun, eh? I certainly thought so. But the film is only occasionally mildly funny, and only occasionally mildly creepy. None of the plot hijinks work, and thus I was left drumming my fingers, waiting for what I assumed to be a backloaded scare barrage to bear its teeth. If you think the last 15-30 minutes of "The Innkeepers" are even remotely terrifying, I'd say horror is not the genre for you. Every scare (except for a final, very cheesy one) is tipped off either by the poor positioning of the camera or a character's prolonged reaction. Anyone looking for hardcore frights should steer entirely clear. "The Innkeepers" is to its genre what "The Trip" was to its own: it makes you wonder what "scary" or "funny" really means anymore. D