The Innkeepers was perhaps the most terrifying movie I’ve watched so far in this class. As soon as there was the first hint of the monster, there was never a scene that was not frightening. As soon as one scary scene finished, it quickly bridged into the next terrifying scene. Even though most of the scenes never actually have anything scary appear, the film had me shuddering in mere anticipation of the next scare. Additionally, the Innkeepers also had a fantastic score that had me shuddering from the get-go all the way until the very end.
For me, I believe the two elements that contributed most to the horror-emotion of the film was the invasion of space and the slow pacing that occurs throughout the movie.
The invasion of personal space is not immediately evident in the Innkeepers, but I believe that this was a prominent feature of the movie. The fact that the horror takes place in a hotel points to an invasion of space. A hotel is a place that a person has never been to before, that he doesn’t really know much about, and a place that is supposed to be safe. By entering a hotel, a patron is entrusting themselves to the hotel. A patron trusts that a hotel will be a place where they can rest and be at peace – a place they can call home in unfamiliar territory. The movie then proceeds to break this trust by introducing that the hotel is not only haunted, but is also unsafe. Naturally, this hotel would no longer be a “home” to the patrons and because a source of horror. The trust between patron and hotel was broken and in this supposed sanctuary, horror occurs.
The most obvious example of the invasion of space in the film was during the scene in which the ghost was next to Claire in her bed as she was trying to sleep. There is perhaps no place in a person’s life that is more personal than a bed. A bed is where one is most vulnerable to potential dangers. All the dangers that could befall a person while he is sleeping are normally suppressed by people so that they can feel safe and sleep. The appearance of the ghost in the bed breaks all of this by causing a bed to become a location of horror.
The pacing of the movie was also a very important contributor to the horror. The plot of the movie is extremely simple and generic, but the plot was able to sustain the movie because everything took so long to unfold. More importantly however, the slow pacing of the movie really raised the tension of the movie. Throughout the movie, the mystery is slowly and laboriously revealed, drawing the audience in ever nearer. The pacing of the film allows its audience to be held captive for the entire length despite all of the terrifying scenes just so that their desire to satisfy their curiosity can be satisfied, which naturally only happens at the end of movie.