There is nothing new about the movie The Innkeepers. It is your typical, cliché horror story that consists of an old building that has seen a lot of tragedies throughout its history. It tells the story of a ghost that has suffered a great injustice, so great in fact that not even death could hold back its thirst for vengeance. Then in modern times, there emerges another character that is ignorant about the history of the building. His curiosity, married with a foolish sense of courage is his greatest flaw. He begins to explore the old building, uncovering strange clues about its past that fuel even further his curiosity. In the end, the hero bites off more than he could chew that leads to his ultimate demise. The disturbed spirit preys on him and takes his life as retribution.
In a nutshell, that would be the story of The Innkeepers. Nothing new. Pretty ordinary. A template for any average horror film. Predictable. Overused. Bland. And yet in all its ordinariness, it still maintains a certain hook that makes it still an outstanding horror film.
I would have to agree that it is a universe away from the Rec series. It is indeed very slow-paced and at first was a little bit boring. But I agree that the slowness of the film was deliberate. There is something about it that catches its viewer off-guard. It could never be known when something crucially thrilling would appear. Just when we are made to sit back and relax, some shrilling scene just comes popping out of nowhere and the effect is mind blowing.
In contrast to a fast paced movie like Rec that always keeps you on your toes, The Innkeepers sort of plays with your emotions in such a way that we never really know how and when to prepare ourselves for the scary parts. In a way, an adrenaline pumping movie like Rec, makes you numb to the horror and may dull down the suspense after a while. In contrast to that, The Innkeeper sort of lets you drink a chaser after a shot, lets you collect yourself after an outburst to prepare you for an even bigger scare. And that, I think is what makes the film truly effective.
In the end, the story leaves us hanging. There is no clue whatsoever in what happened to Madeline. We do not know what part the old man plays in her story and why he killed himself. Most importantly, we do not know what happened to Claire and why she died. But I think what the movie lacks in explanations, it makes up for in creativity. The movie was open ended and that’s precisely what makes it even more interesting. Now, viewers are left to come up with various explanations to explain the ending.
In my opinion, I do not think that the ghosts ever killed Claire. If anything, I bet they were even trying to save her or warn her of her impending doom. In the last few scenes of the movie, you could see that the ghost of the old man had his arms outstretched as if telling Claire to not go towards the room where Madeline died. It’s as if he didn’t want her to go there. He wasn’t chasing her but rather he was trying to tell her to come to him and away from the room. There was also the scene where Luke found Claire’s inhaler. I thought this was pretty insignificant but then when I think about it, perhaps this was the reason why Claire died. It was not so much the ghosts killing Claire, but rather it is her asthma that killed her. Perhaps the reason why the ghosts were trying to shoo her away from the room was because they knew that if she got caught there, she would die of suffocation. This probably explains the Leigh’s prediction. She said that she saw 3 ghosts. It was probably Madeline, the old man who was probably Madeline’s fiancée and Claire.