Inncrepers

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Follows two ghost enthusiasts (Claire and Luke) trying to unlock the haunted history of Yankee Pedlar Inn. Yankee Pedlar Inn, once a grand hotel but now only has two employees. Both young adults take turn in shifts and handling customers. Every night Claire channels her inner ghost hunter and uses apparatus to track down ghosts. She is very much curious of the legend of Madeline O’Malley, a bride who hung herself on her wedding day. Luke who backs up and continues the story to Claire leaving her more curious about it.

 

The film has a very slow storyline but the characters showed their clear motives; they really want to unlock “hunted legend” and feel the ghosts firsthand. I like how Claire acted in the film, curiously aggressive of finding out what she wanted to find out. She did come off as a strong character (soft spoken and a bit shy) but her actions spoke for her. Considering that she’s employed with just one more person in the hotel she insisted to go around the hotel discovering the corners to satisfy what she wanted to uncover. It became a routine for her; the nightly crawls in the hallway and nights spent in common rooms like the ballroom, basement and washing area. These are the times wherein her character really showed persistence, she really would not stop.

 

 

One afternoon, Claire recognizes a former actress and assists her to check in. She becomes close to Leanne because she admitted to Claire that she is familiar with the medium (connecting with the unknown). Claire later discovers the voices and music in some areas of the hotel and saw the piano playing on its own. Paranormal activities started to occur and clearly Claire was stuck in between getting scared and excited. She tried to tell Luke but he did not want to believe her until he felt it on his own. I like how the movie has a certain feel to it; simple scenes that made the viewers feel more scared I suppose. This part got more exciting on the other note because Leanne started helping Claire. It gave me a sense of optimism that Claire is bound to discover something with her help. Although Claire’s character did not show aggressiveness in the beginning she seemed pretty calm until they both felt something. This part of the film got more exciting because initially I assumed that they would not discover anything. Leanne used her necklace to call on the spirits but the spirits answered back by breaking the glass of her necklace. This part frightened me because it only means that the spirit is very strong. This scene made me contemplate on what their next move will be.

 

Overall, I liked the movie. The shallowness of the scenes and how the ghosts appeared made it noticeable that it is not a recent horror film. The simplicity of the unforeseen and astonishing scenes, for me, made it scarier. I appreciate the simplicity of the cinematography, some scenes are shot up close and some are shot to show the whole set – for example when the piano moved on its own. I personally would recommend it to someone who is looking for a casual horror movie, not gory at all, not much blood, just a classic film of flashing of scary scenes. I also like how it is very realistic, the technology Claire used could be bought and people really use it to track ghosts. Claire’s character appealed to me even more because I was once curious too and I was once on the verge of doing the same thing in our old house. It reminded back in high school and grade school when “blood Mary” was a thing and people really swore that they saw her staring back at them in some bathrooms in school. Old story but I bet people are still curious until now, I mean I still am. Even though the storyline is a bit shallow, I would watch it again.

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Innkeepers

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What do you get when you put two innkeepers in a creepy old Yankee Pedlar Inn on its last weekend of operation? That’s right, a typical horror film. While The Innkeepers 2011 was a typical horror movie setting, this film was to my surprise, well executed.

For a typical horror film, it did not scream horror. It had a few jump scares here and there but it was not the type of horror film that would leave me running out the cinema. It was a lot more relaxed than other horror films of this this type and this was something that I really appreciated.

For one, I appreciated the character of Claire. She and her fellow innkeeper Luke had surprisingly good chemistry — not the romantic type though. Their personalities meshed well together and kept the movie entertaining all throughout.

For a horror film, it was odd to see not much focus or development on the monster itself. Much of the story revolved around the innkeepers and their eerie experiences around the inn but barely on the monster itself. I thought that during the revelation of the monster through Leanne Rease- Jones, the monster, Madeline was going to start making appearances. However, there were only abrupt mentions and scenes of her, but strangely it still worked in theme with the horror movie.

While this movie was a typical horror movie with the famous strange sounds coming from around the inn, and the crowd favorite invisible piano player, it did not seem tasteless and still remained entertaining.

From the start of the film, I knew that Claire’s asthma was going to be detrimental to her role. True enough, in the end, an asthma attack caused her death. It is possible that claire’s death could have been a product of her own mind and not the actual ghost which is a sad thing to realize knowing how helpless she could have possibly been during her asthma attack. Of course the last scene of a typical horror movie will always include a glimpse of the ghost and just as this movie was a typical horror movie in itself, it did end with the ghost of Claire almost barely there and the door mysteriously shutting on its own.

I must say that while Claire’s death was sad,it was disappointing. To find out that she could have possibly just been imagining the whole haunting kind of deflated my spirits for a bit but in the end, the movie was still pleasingly effective.

One thing I would like to commend is Ti West’s superb capability of not letting an audience down. I myself am impressed at how I was kept entertained the whole movie despite its typical storyline. He was able to masterfully incorporate basic elements of a horror spin and add his own personal touch to continuously entice audience members and keep their eyes glued to the screen.

Innkeeperzzz

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I didn’t quite understand the film, based on the plot. I found it messy, and I thought there were a lot of unnecessary things. I think there were just too many ideas crammed up in the film, and I didn’t find that those ideas were executed well.

First, I find that the actors were really awkwardly strange. They didn’t seem the right choices for their roles. They looked very dry and uninteresting in the film. Neither of them seemed likeable enough. For instance, Claire had a short moment after she talked to Ms. Lee where she was contemplating about her life because she felt bad for not having to finish her studies. But the writers completely disregarded this whole idea and decided not to expound more that aspect of her character profile. It could have been given more depth. Instead they gave more time and attention to other unimportant things in the film.

I found that the first hour of the movie was monotonous. The build up took too long as I fell asleep already when the monster was about to be revealed. The build up itself wasn’t unique and imaginative enough either. The whole reason for the haunting of the inn deserved more details and story. There were no flashbacks, back stories or even other sources to escalate the audience’s curiosity. It would’ve been scarier if there were more details about the ghost that was haunting the inn.

I found it odd when one character who checked into the inn became someone who could communicate with ghosts. Even the mother with her child didn’t seem to be relevant to the plot even though they were there for a huge amount of screen time. The fact that there were some humor crammed into the film was a bit of a disappointment. It failed to contribute to the story. I believe that in horror stories, timing has to be executed well, not just the scary parts but also everything else in between those parts. After Claire recognizes the piano moving by itself then she runs to wake up Luke, somehow they tried to insert humor by making us laugh at the part where Luke was wearing nothing down below other than his underwear right after we’re supposed to be frightened. The timing on that scene was just off, if I think about it in terms of the emotional trajectory from those chain of events.

I struggled with taking the movie seriously when all these parts in the film felt out of place. When the ghost finally appeared, it did not give me that horror anymore. However, the ghost itself was crafted so well that it made me jump out of my seat as I awoke at the end. I can say the same thing for the old man too who ended up as a ghost in the end. Those were things I could highlight as good points in the movie. The one scene showing about the nightmare was also quite exceptional. The time when I woke up was very thrilling as Claire was already being chased by the ghost and eventually getting killed by the ghost. I am just confused about Luke as he didn’t seem to be affected or saddened by the fact that Claire died. He didn’t even put an effort to tell the police that there is a supernatural force that is threatening this establishment. Ms. Lee didn’t make herself important to the plot as well as she was the only person who has the ability to help in that situation but that aspect wasn’t shown in the movie as well.

Overall, I think the film needed more effort to become as entertaining as I would have wanted it to be. It is definitely not something I would remember as a film that was scary enough or even worth watching.

Now you’re inn for it…..

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You know how in the movie Clash Of The Titans they take like 30 minutes to bring out the Kraken monster but end up killing said monster in like 3 minutes. It was slightly different in a sense that they didn’t actually catch the monsters in the Innkeepers. The movie did however have a slow start.

It started out by introducing the main character Claire as kind of a normal girl stuck in a weird town with weird people. For example when she buys a cup of coffee and her and the sales person have an awkward encounter. Don’t forget about her not so normal co-worker Luke. Luke, is introduced right off the bat for being in to ghost and paranormal activity. Since this is a weird town in a horror film it has an inn where no one stays and must therefore be closed down. This inn is of course cursed by someone who died in it previously. Things start to get strange as a some what famous actress checks in to the hotel. Claire happens to be a fan of this actress but later on finds out that she changed vocation and deals more with super natural things. They all team up to try and figure out the story of Madelline and why she won’t leave Yankee Pedlar Inn. Later in the movie a strange old man appears and checks in to the inn only to kill himself in the banyo and becomes a ghost as well. I don’t know if we are led to believe that this old man was the husband of Madelline. Leanne then tries to make contact with the ghosts and warns Claire that they want her dead ( Madelline and the Old man). However, I didn’t understand why the ghost of Madelline wanted to kill Claire so bad (more on that later). Most likely curiosity killed the cat. The movie ends with Claire being killed and Luke leaving the inn. However , the cause of death was her falling and hitting her head ironically not being able to be pinned to the ghosts.

Furthermore, regarding Claire’s death, I don’t think that the ghosts were actually trying to kill her. I think that Leigh foresaw that Claire would become a spirit in that inn but she didn’t know how it would happen so she told her not to go down to the basement. So that she wouldn’t end up dead there and become a spirit. Ironically, her trying to figure out how to stay alive is what killed her when she was startled by one of the ghosts.

This movie had a style that I had never noticed in a movie before where they have a lot of scenes that build up to a scary part but nothing ends up happening (hence Clash of titans reference). Literally 3/4s of the movie was like this. This created a sort of monster that was never there. It causes the audience to fear something that hasn’t appeared or done anything yet. That is what makes this movie interesting. It comes off as a terrifying film without anything actually happening. All done via effects and angles! I don’t think that the movie itself was scary, but I do think it had a lot of scary features. For example, the camera angles and lighting was very scary. They had either very intense aggressive motions or very suspenseful slow motions both of which were used throughout the film which blended well with the scenes. Another feature that I thought was very scary was the sound effects. It some how sounded scary which made the vibe scary. So even though the plot wasn’t so terrifying it still managed to bring you to the edge of fear but never fully pushes you off. Until finally it ends up pushing you which you of course see coming. I also did like the character of Claire. I like that she brings a cute comic relief to the film. It partners with the strange bum character Luke.

The ending was interesting to me beause

To sum it all up, the Innkeepers wasn’t the best of movies. However, there were some good qualities such as the cinematography. The movie also had its comedic moment. Maybe that’s why it wasn’t the best of horror films. But, I do think that was intended by the director. I feel like the object of the movie was sort of play with our imagination and it tricks us into scaring ourselves via our imaginations. That combined with this strange cast creates a rollercoaster of a movie.

Slow day in the Inn

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Why do people even like watching horror films? If you look at horror films from a realistic perspective, why would you ever want to watch people suffer, get murdered, haunted by ghosts, devoured by monsters, etc? This was one of the questions Carroll tried to answer in his article “Why Horror?” Through a paradox of our own psychology we seem to be attracted and fascinated to things which should normally be found repulsive and disgusting.

Horror films in a sense is an art form unlike any other since it relies on its ugliness and ability to cause discomfort and distress to give us pleasure instead of beauty. Our curiosity as an audience is triggered by the existence of a monster, something beyond our own reality, supernatural, unknowable. We are driven to watch further so that we may understand the monster and the world it lives in/comes from. Despite it being disgusting and horrifying, it still manages to give us pleasure through engaging in our curiosity to find out more. And I would say that what makes a good horror film is that in the end it manages to consistently elicit fear and dissonance as to reward our curiosity with gross pleasure.

In the film “The Innkeepers” we are introduced to a situation where a so called haunted-hotel is about to close down in a couple of days or so. With the main characters of the film being horror enthusiasts just like ourselves, they found it to be their responsibility to find out if this fact was indeed true before it was too late. Claire was portrayed as your average adventurous girl who seemed all too bored with her daily life while Luke claimed to have had experienced supernatural events in the past and even runs a website about these ghost sightings. To be quite honest, the relatability of the audience with the main characters was all the movie had going for it. Because the characters seemed so average and normal, it was easy to relate as to why they wanted to go on ghost hunting. Their daily lives as innkeepers in the hotel was just plain boring. However, because majority of the film was showcasing their daily lives, it ended up being just that….boring.

The movie continued at a very slow pace and it never really got scary until the final chapter. It was a very slow burn and I personally think that it didn’t really live up to the hype. The movie only began to be slightly scary when we were introduced to another character in the film, Leanne Rease-Jones, who seemed to be quite the mysterious lady. She was the person with the 3rd eye and could really communicate with spirits. And when she finally confirmed that there was something in the hotel, things suddenly kicked into high gear. On one of their drunken adventures Claire and Luke went down to the basement to call upon the ghost of Madeline O’Malley and succeeded. It freaked out Luke so much that it drove him to leave the hotel and leave Claire to venture of alone. Claire would eventually discover the dead body of the old man (apparently he was the husband of Madeline and was full of guilt for her suicide?) and would continually be pursued by the ghost of Madeline throughout the entire hotel. Indeed the ghost really was terrifying to look at and even caused the death of Claire through an asthma attack but I still wasn’t really satisfied by the movie’s ending. I found the pacing too slow that no matter how intense and terrifying the last chapter was, it was already too late to scare me off my opinion of the movie being too dragging and uneventful. However I would like to commend the movie for at least trying to evoke fear through silence and timing. Just like the jump scare video Luke shared with Claire, a lot of the scary scenes in the movie relied on that technique and it worked most of the time.

What made the film unique for me was again that the characters were quite relatable. I would totally understand why Claire and Luke would go ghost hunting after drinking a couple of beers. However ghost hunting may seem fun and enjoyable as an idea, actually discovering real life ghosts and monsters is not. That I believe is what makes horror films so attractive. Although it tries to horrify us, terrify us, and gross us out, it is always entertaining to watch since we all know that it’s only a fictional movie. When in fact it ends up being real, just like how Claire discovered the ghost of Madeline, only then does it seize to be pleasurable and begin to terrify us to death.

Noel Carroll, “Why Horror?.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002).

Curiosity Killed the Claire

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The audience is first introduced to the characters of Luke and Claire. They are innkeepers of a small hotel about to close down. Luke makes Claire watch a video of the ghost haunting the hotel but in reality it was just one of the jump scares video. Several customers check in the hotel, including an old man, and an actress turned medium, Leanne Reese Jones. Claire tries to make contact with the ghost of the hotel, Madeline O’Malley. Leanne warns her to stay away from the basement of the hotel. Claire does not listen. Eventually, while drunk, Luke and Claire head down to the basement to communicate with the ghost of Madeline. Luke reveals that he had lied about making contact with the ghost previously. Scared, he flees from the hotel. Claire asks Leanne for her aid in communicating with the ghosts of the hotel. Leanne tells Claire to leave the hotel immediately. Claire tries to warn the other patrons of the hotel only to find that the old man had committed suicide. She sees the ghost of Madeline in the room. Startled, she runs down the stairs and bumps into Luke who has come back to the hotel. Luke goes upstairs to get Leanne. Claire hears voices from the basement. At the entrance of the basement, she is startled by apparition of the old man and falls down. The old man chases her to the room where Madeline’s body was hidden. Claire is trapped as Madeline approaches her. She is found dead the next morning. Leanne and Luke leave the hotel with the police. The last shot of the film is of a barely visible Claire, then the door slams into the camera.

Innkeepers is quite a unique horror movie. It is one of the more conventional ghost horror movies that we watched in class. It has a unique format – dividing parts of the story into chapters.

I personally found the movie’s pacing too slow. The pacing only picked up in the last chapter of the story. I think that dividing the film into chapters also contributed to the slow pace of the story. As I was watching, I remember thinking, “a lot of chapters has passed already… When will the ghost appear?” I also found it a little hard to connect with the characters. I didn’t find them very likable and I did not really get attached to them.

There are three points of discussion that I will briefly touch on. First, is that of the concept of the other. The ghosts haunting the hotel did not touch Claire. Yet she feared them, inducing an asthma attack and died as a result. There was nothing physically scary about the ghost. It was simply that they were ‘other’, that they were not human, that Claire feared them.

I think, another interesting point of discussion could be that Claire was the target. It was not Luke or Leanne but Claire. This was because Claire was the ‘weakest’ of them. She was female, which in a patriarchal society is weak in comparison to a male like Luke, and she did not have knowledge of the supernatural like Leanne. Aside from this she had asthma which contributed to her ‘weakness’ and ultimately her demise.

Finally, the last point of discussion would be about Carroll’s article on curiosity. Horror films show what is disgusting, disliked, and what is othered by society. So why do people still watch horror? Carroll states that curiosity is why the audience watches horror films. Having to watch the ‘weirdness’ in horror films is a small price to pay for the pleasure of having your curiosity satiated. Horror films have this temptation, somehow analogous to riding a roller coaster. When you ride a roller coaster you figuratively think that you will die. Then adrenaline kicks in. This rush of adrenaline is what keeps you coming back for more.

The story itself, I think was meant to stimulate the audience’s curiosity. They divided it into chapters, there was this disruption in the story that makes you ask, what happens next? The slow build up of the story also contributed to feeding the audience’s curiosity. The story was revealed slowly, offering bits and pieces of information to satiate the audience’s curiosity little by little and not giving it all in one go.

Even in the film itself, you can see how curiosity is something that pushes Claire. When Luke made Claire watch the video, even though Claire was hesitant and afraid she still watched it. Even after Leanne warns Claire about the danger of going into the basement, Claire goes into the basement to satiate her curiosity. The monster, Madeline O’Malley, fueled Claire’s curiosity. The mystery of why the ghost remained in the hotel. Ghosts are others. They are normally something feared, and yet because of Claire’s curiosity, she calls out to the ghost. Claire reaches her demise because of her curiosity but at the end she is brought back as a ghost. Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.

Noel Carroll, “Why Horror?.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002).

From 0 to 100 Real Quick

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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.