Saturday, October 29, 2011

Teaser Trailer for Ti West's 'The Innkeepers'

Yesterday, I wrote up the new 'The Innkeepers' poster. Today, Apple delivers a trailer. The flick comes off very classical, almost stubbornly old-fashioned. There's ghost hunters with microphones prowling the halls of a storybook haunted inn, a nice slow ticking clock, and a mysterious guest that checks in who may not be what he seems.

I mentioned the use of a 'cheesy 70s font' in the poster and hoped it was a reflection of the style of story (70s, not cheesy, that is), and the trailer seems to confirm this. There's a very 70s feel, a lot of it plays like a Stephen King yarn, which usually take place in decades past. There is a Poltergiest-esque psychic medium who steps in halfway through to help the protags connect with the spirit world. (I know, 'Poltergeist' is from 1982 but it was done in a very 70s style, normal (almost unavoidable) for directors/writers Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg, besides it's just a few years one way or the other...).

Aspect ratio is definitely contemporary -- not that they didn't have such ratios in the 70s but a movie like this probably wouldn't have been done so wide then. Color balance is warm and not too saturated (much like the poster). Camera angles are perhaps a bit lower than they were back in the day, but not too much so.

As I mentioned yesterday, the quality of the posters and stills makes me feel like this movie may have a shot at being special. This is often the case -- PR/Marketing get stoked when they know the product is worth selling and it shows in posters and trailers. There's a lot of little touches in the footage that indicates director Ti West was careful with this film. Like, at :29, Claire (Sara Paxton) walks toward the inn -- it's a nice steep downward camera angle, very foreboding -- and when she walks under the sign (at :31) it's swinging back and forth (hinting at an approaching storm, wind. Good to unsettle the viewer without them necessarily knowing why). The sign is not swinging in the first shot but is, a half second later, in the second shot. Not many would notice this kind of thing, but that's the point: Not many directors would think to do that.

There's a lot of practical make-up effects, none of that cheap laptop-produced CGI look. What VFX there are (moving wallpaper) look organic and high quality. Not what you'd expect from schlock-horror.

The song 'Under a Blanket of Blue' (Composed 1939 by Al Neiburg, Jerry Livingston & Marty Symes) is a jazz standard that adds a perfect creepiness in this context (a nod to Stephen King who includes old songs in his stories all the time. Weren't there old tunes in the ballroom sequences of 'The Shining'?).

Trailer does a good job of not showing all the salient plot points -- something we've been inundated with lately. Hopefully, they're keeping their cards close because they have something worth protecting, and at first blush, it's difficult to argue with the praise (in the graphic above) the movie is getting.

Good trailer. Looking forward.

Yesterday, I gushed about the new poster for 'My Week with Marilyn', which is stunning, and while I mentioned Apple had a trailer I forgot to mention they also have a clip. Check it out if you haven't seen it -- very good stuff here. Cannot wait for this one.

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