Sara Paxton and Pat Healy star as hosts at a soon-to-be-closed, allegedly haunted inn. (Image via Kill the Giggler)

The Innkeepers (2011)
Directed and written by Ti West
Starring Sara Paxton and Pat Healy
The Innkeepers seems like three films in one at different points in its progression: a slacker comedy, a weak horror and a true thriller. The beginning is peppered with pointless scenes that don’t serve to make the characters likable or draw the viewer into the film, but when the suspense finally grows it’s too late. The fact that the film doesn’t rely completely on conventional horror techniques is a plus, but overall it’s unimpressive. The score: 1/5

Michael Shannon gives an award-worthy, understated performance as a husband and father who becomes obsessed with building a storm shelter to protect his family. (Image via Sony Classics)

Take Shelter (2011)
Directed and written by Jeff Nichols
Starring Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain and Tova Stewart
Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain give near-flawless, completely underrated performances in this slow-burning but thoroughly gripping film. I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend watching this if you don’t mind a slow pace. The ending is fantastic. Take Shelter took home a whopping 33 awards, but was unfairly snubbed by the Academy. The score: 4/5

Antonio Banderas stars as a traumatized plastic surgeon who has created synthetic skin. (Image via Windsor Film Festival)

La piel que habito (The Skin I Live In) (2011)
Directed by Pedro Almodovar; Written for the screen by Pedro and Agustin Almodovar, based on the novel by Thierry Jonquet
Starring Antonio Banderas and Elena Anaya
This film is great in every way: the writing, the cinematography, the sound, the talent. A dark, melancholy mood is successfully built, mixing with a bit of dark comedy in the beginning to perfectly suit the twisted story. The film contains quite a bit of graphic content; this would usually be off-putting to me as a viewer, but it is made up for by the complexity of the story, great performances and high suspense. The score: 4.5/5