The Innkeepers: The Gaze of Women

“The Innkeepers” is a horror film about Claire and Luke, two employees at the Yankee Pedlar Inn who experience peculiar events and attempt to discover more about the secrets of the hotel’s haunted past. Although it was obviously a low budget and independent film, I honestly enjoyed watching it since it was directed and produced excellently as demonstrated by the special effects used. Initially, I have already heard about the film but I never really attempted to watch it by myself especially at night since seeing the movie poster alone was horrifying. Believe it or not, “The Innkeepers” was just the second film next to “Rec” that gave me a good scare in which I had difficulties discarding it from my thoughts. I believe it presented the horror film effectively to the point that I even recommended it to some of my friends to give them goosebumps as well. From the numerous reactions of the class, I thought that the movie was very well received by its audience.

It seemed as if the film was divided into two parts. The first part began at a really slow pace with a series of scenes which made an effort to startle the audience but unfortunately did not work on me. I liked the fact that the first half involved some humorous scenes rather than immediately inducing fear into its audience. I believe these were probably made in preparation for the second half or the final few minutes of the movie which were exceptionally frightening. It was the final week of the Yankee Pedlar Inn, and Claire and Luke were initially introduced as ghost enthusiasts who were interested in the mystery of the ghost of Madeline O’Malley, a bride who committed suicide after her husband left her. An old woman named Leanne who turned out to be a psychic then checked in the hotel and the plot eventually builds up as Claire experienced paranormal activity. One instance was when the piano played by itself while she recorded EVPs in various locations around the hotel. The second part of the film started as soon as an unusual old man checked in and asked for a room on the third floor of the hotel. Even though Leanne warned Claire to avoid the basement, they did otherwise and as a result, they came across some paranormal activity. Claire claimed to see the ghost of Madeline O’Malley causing Luke to leave the hotel. Leanne also said that they needed to leave the hotel immediately so Claire rushed to the third floor but saw the body of the old man covered with blood in the bathtub. In the end, Claire encountered several apparitions of the old man and Madeline O’Malley, being trapped in the basement and dying of an asthma attack.

Similar to the other movies watched in class, a feeling of entrapment was clearly present particularly in the latter parts of the film such as when Claire was cornered by the ghost of Madeline O’Malley in the basement. In accordance to our discussion, women were also portrayed as the most effective representation of fear as seen in the character of Claire. It was very strange that only the woman (Claire) claimed to see the ghost but the man (Luke) didn’t. Moreover, the victimization and particularization of women were evident throughout the movie. Claire was not allowed to be normal in the film and she never really played an important role. She was someone looked at by the “monster” or the ghost, and she unknowingly just died in the end. Finally, the film wished to leave its audience with the significant message that the gaze of women, which is directly the result of their natural curiosity to gaze upon the unusual, may have its detrimental and unfavourable consequences.

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