Reviews in a line or two, 2011 thrills and screams edition: The Innkeepers, Take Shelter and La piel que habito

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

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3 thoughts on “Reviews in a line or two, 2011 thrills and screams edition: The Innkeepers, Take Shelter and La piel que habito

  1. ‘Take Shelter’ is one I have yet to see but really need to. I’m a huge fan of Shannon who I think is one of the most under-appreciated actors in the business. You should try watching Ti West’s ‘The House of the Devil’ it’s a very solid horror film and one of my favorites of the past few years!

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    1. I couldn’t agree more about Shannon. He’s one of the best actors around today and he’s completely underrated! I’m interested to see more of West’s work since The Innkeepers was my first exposure to him. I’ll check out The House of the Devil if I can track down a copy. Thanks for reading!

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