The Innkeepers is a very simple movie, the setting is such a simple confined space, and the plot is straightforward. It feels like such a low-budget indie movie, but it works well because of its play on the gaze. Throughout the film, the camera angles are effectively timed and shot to strike tension and fear for the viewer. It plays on the fear of the things you can’t see. They’re looking for the ghost of Madeline O’Malley, they want to contact her to find out what she wants, what she’s still doing there in the building. The main character, Claire, actively pursues the cause of the paranormal activities in the inn, sometimes recklessly so. We see other people trying their best to stop Claire from doing this, saying that she should stop poking her head in things that she doesn’t fully understand.
We see in The Innkeepers the usual images of men and women in horror films. Men usually seen as the logical ones, while the women are those who are simply too curious for their own good. Luke tries to stop Claire from pursuing this paranormal force in the inn even though he was the one who instigated her to actively pursue it. Claire out of curiosity pursues this force as the viewers cringe on her recklessness while doing this. Also, seeing the psychic healer who coincidentally looks like a lesbian, was sort of curious and still rational. She wanted to understand why Claire wanted to find out the secrets of the inn, first she tried to stop her, then she ended up trying to help her. At the end of the movie it was implied that the psychic knew what was going to happen to Claire yet she didn’t do anything about it. She said that there was nothing they could do. I guess it was smart of the psychic to stay away when she knew all her cards were up. Claire on the other hand kept going and going until, as the saying goes, curiosity killed the cat.
I love how the movie really built up the scenes where they were actively looking for Madeline O’Malley. The blind angles, the tense build ups, along with the sound, really made the viewers dread was was going to happen next. Though the old man bit was quite predictable, the lead up to the discovery of what he did was quite tense. The film makers play with the viewers’ emotions, we see in the closing of the movie, with the long pause as the camera sort of stares in the room. It is sort of a metaphor on how Claire seeks to look for the “monster”, but in the end, the seeker gets a shock as it gets what it wants. Just as in the end of the movie, we were expecting something to happen in the last part. We were expecting the ghost of Madeline O’Malley to pop up or maybe the ghost of Claire, we knew we were going to get a final fright and boom, it ended with us getting what we wanted, which is exactly what happened to Claire.