The music in the beginning of the film was already able to set the tone of The Innkeeper that enforced the horror element of the movie. From the beginning credits, the background music was communicating that whoever was about to watch this film is bound to get scared. It’s the sound effects and musical scoring of the film that can conduct the mood of the rest of story. Even as the girl walks down the hallway, the music makes it affirm the creepiness of the hotel.
“Whenever something creepy happens, no one is ever around.” Up until she returns to the hotel after getting a “cup of coffee,” the pace of the story begins to slow down as the film focuses on the dialogues happening between Luke and Claire. Lines like “things happen for a reason” pop up and we see that these two characters seem to have no important purpose in life so far. As Luke leaves Claire at the front desk and starts exploring Luke’s website, she then hears a strange noise but isn’t able to record it. It reminds the audience that indeed, no one is ever around when something creepy happens.
The story’s being divided into chapters spoon-feeds us into expecting what we’re going to learn based on each of the titles. In chapter 2, Claire hears the same sound she heard previously when she was alone, but this time she is able to get closer to the source of the noise. Although it was just a bird, where this bird was found was a mysterious door leading to some basement. From this point we assume that there’s a story behind those doors, but Claire doesn’t seem to figure it out herself. The different idle moments such as the EDPs in the different rooms seemed to be going nowhere which, although gets the viewers restless and bored– is exactly how the film’s next surprise will catch us off guard. When Claire hears the piano sounds through the EDP, the story finally begins to show signs of horror-that-is-now-developing especially when some phenomenon finally occurs! If nothing by chance happens, what was the relevance of those certain guests staying at the hotel on its last weekend? During the conversation between Leanne and Claire, they are able to get in contact with the spirits who warn them not to go into the basement, which of course is exactly where the audience wants them to go. Since all we’re doing as viewers is using our sense of sight, the proximity factor being dealt with by the characters in the film doesn’t affect us. So when the dead bride scares Claire, all we have to do is close our eyes and ears for everything to go away.
As we try to decipher the story of the haunted hotel, a final guest arrives who we think could probably be the fiancee of Madeline, insists he stays in the honeymoon suite 353. As it is the last night at the hotel, the two inebriated staff members decide to go and disobey the spirits’ warning. With 30 minutes left for the film, something serious and in relation to Madeline was finally going to happen. The slow creeping in of piano playing made the mood more cryptic, therefore doing what stereotypical horror films do, keeping the audience on the edges of their seats.
As they are finally in the basement and “in contact” with Madeline, Luke’s storming out of the hotel was a confusing move. Either he’s a wimp or he in fact did feel Madeline’s presence and didn’t want to admit it. After Leanne’s necklace breaks, the climax of the story finally happens and doesn’t stop until the end. With the louder music, all the running around and the dead people rising from the dead, the audience is hanging on the question, is someone going to die? Although it was a much slower-paced movie compared to Rec 2, they were both just stories about looking for answers and getting nowhere close to a happy ending.
(An unnecessary fact about the lead actress, Sara Paxton, is that she was also the lead mermaid in Aquamarine)