The opening of the film pretty much set the mood for me. It gave me high expectations on how the film will turn out. Because of this, I have come to assume that it would be a conventional horror film – pretty much like those that would make you jump out of your chairs or cover your eyes for most of the film. However, this was not the case for The Innkeepers. Rather than closing my eyes, I had to look out for something out of the ordinary in every scene in the film – something that would scare or disgust me. Because it took so long for the monster to be revealed, I was left in anticipation, rather than hiding from it or clinging onto my seatmate, I was ready. I wanted it to come out already. There was some sort of excitement in terms of determining whether the monster was what I assumed it to be.
The acting was pretty good. The characters were quite interesting but I felt that the screenplay lacks the imagination it takes to elevate the story above the ordinary. It was too slow-paced and almost boring making it kind of cheesy. At the same time, ending up with a predictable level of a common ghost story. The film still had some of the usual scary cue, and tense and thrilling moments. It had some funny touches, however, for me, it fails to do anything with the weird and eerie situation it elaborately tries to establish. I felt like the timing was off. It was too slow to the point where, usually in most films the viewers try their best to avoid jumpscares and so they partially cover their eyes, in this case, I was on the lookout – my eyes were open the whole time, and I just wanted to know already what kind of monster it was that they were hunting. Rather than hiding away from the monster, like the characters, I also search for it.
The movie revolves around a story wherein the characters are trying to confirm the existence of a monster in the film. According to Noel Caroll in the text, Why Horror?, it is generally the case wherein the characters in the film must undergo a process of discovering that the monster exists, which leads to a further process of confirming that discovery in a series of scenes. This characters’ fascination of the monster is what drove the story. It is also what kept the viewers watching. Like the characters, the viewers are just “dying” to already know what kind of monster really is there.
Although the film managed to relay to the audience the same sort of feeling the characters had felt in the film which was the desire to uncover the monster that was believed to be dwelling in the inn, it was still lacking for me. The ending was quite anti-climactic. The revelation of the monster being a made-up character in the end, I felt, failed to do its job. I had assumed that when, finally, the monster is revealed, the pacing of the film will take a different turn and somehow make up for how the movie was during the first part of the film. However, the revelation was not really as effective as I had wanted it to be. It was kind of frustrating wherein I have waited for most of the film for the monster to finally come out and scare the living out of me, but it did not turn out that way.
Despite not really being a big fan of the film, I would still have to commend its way of appealing to the viewers. Although, for me, it ended up looking like a common ghost story, I would have to admit that how the story was visually portrayed and how it was dissected into different chapters worked for adding to the eerie sensation the film tries to deliver, setting it apart from the usual horror films I have watched.