The Innkeepers was a very different movie then what we usually watched. You wouldn’t know at first glance if the movie is actually a horror film at first because of its deceiving nature. It was unusually tame for a horror movie at first, something you don’t really expect. But then, it suddenly surprises you as it smoothly transitions into a horror film that people came to see. It was a cliché type of horror film, but at the same time, it has its own unique takes that actually make it different and unconventional.
The movie follows Claire and Luke, two innkeepers at Yankee Pedlar Inn who have an interest in the paranormal. They are so invested in this so much so that they consider themselves as “ghost hunters”. They have a particular interest in the Yankee Pedlar Inn because they believe that the Hotel is haunted by the spirits of Madeline O’Malley, and they are determined to prove this to be true. The main driving point of the movie is the curiosity of the main characters, as everything is caused by their curiosity. This is one aspect that make the movie a horror film because the way they act is for this genre. Normally if there is a scary noise or something dangerous in the horizon, the first instinct is to go away from it, not go near it. By doing the opposite actually puts the viewers at the edge of their seats and make them want to see what happens next, but having that nervous and scared feeling at the same time. In my opinion, the movie pulled this off nicely and keeps the viewers hooked.
Right off the bat, what I found off was the soundtrack of the movie. I felt that the music was “too happy”, and does not really help the movie come off as something scary. It seemed misplaced, as if it didn’t belong to the movie. You wouldn’t expect to hear this in a generic horror film, but because of them doing so makes you wonder why the movie-makers did this in the first place. It was unusually upbeat and inviting, rather than having the eerie and creepy music that most movie has. In other words, the soundtrack did not perfectly encapsulate the horror genre of the movie.
Another thing that intrigued me about the movie is that it actually feels like two movies rolled into one. The first one can be easily mistaken for a comedy movie. With gaffes and funny scenes overpowered the first part. It was light-hearted and fun, making it hard to believe that it’s actually a horror movie. With this in mind, the build-up of the movie was actually slow compared to the other movies we watched. In order to maintain the horror film-esque of the movie during the first part, the film relied on jump-scares to frighten the audience and give the audience the “thrill” of watching a horror movie from starty to finish. It took a while for it to actually become scary, but when it gets to this point, it suddenly becomes a full-throttle horror movie with ease. The transition was very smooth and it actually worked out pretty well. While people might think that this made the horror film too draggy, I actually think that this is what makes the movie unique in its own way. The way The Innkeepers is structured makes it easier to catch the viewers off-guard.
The horror film also banks on the element of a horror film of aloneness throughout the movie. The “antagonists” of the movie are the paranormal in the movie, and they only appear when the character is alone. With this, the film relies on seclusion and having nobody there to protect you as the main elements of horror in the movie. Given this, the viewers can feel the sense of helplessness of the character and being forced to fend for themselves, and in my opinion, this is something that makes the movie scary.
All in all, The Innkeepers was a very interesting movie. It extracted different kinds of emotions from me as I watch the film, but in the end, I still consider it as a horror movie. The slow pace at the beginning of the movie was made up for with a jam-packed second half of the movie. I would’ve hoped that the movie picked up the pace faster than it did, but it is a petty reason to not enjoy the movie. It was funny, light-hearted, but at its very core, is everything you would expect in a horror movie.