Innkeeper is a very awkward movie to experience and I mean awkward in the sense that the movie spends a lot of time on one thing to the point that you feel awkward looking on. I guess I can call the movie novel in proving that the movie’s narrative has a dynamic power over you in demonstrating that it can cause you to feel awkward and by demonstrating that it has power over what and how long you are supposed to look at something.
Among other things the movie is about sensing as seeing, seeing as a form of knowing and knowing as a dynamic of power. The movie plays with the viewers in that, coming into the movie where you fully expect horrors leaping out at you left and right and fully on guard, it spends an ‘awkward’ amount of time where you not being scared at all. There are points in time that it seems to raise false scares and alarms, seemingly dulling your sense of fear, if you will. That false sense of security brings down the viewer’s defenses to the levels of unpreparedness that the horrific encounters later are all the more frightening.
The film when it comes down to what is present, introduces the horrific element, the monster of the film, as the ghosts that are encountered by the viewers only in the later third of the movie. Ghosts are a very interesting literary element regarding the dynamics of horror with the human nature of knowing. The ghosts are presented as these phantom forces initially and only later do they make themselves visible even to the viewers, almost quite suddenly. The idea that there is this existence that is beyond your ability to perceive and conceptualize is the basis for the drive for human curiosity and the human process of self-revelation is characterized by curiosity spearheading us into intrusion into the unknown, seeking it and making it known to ourselves; a completely active, penetrating process. The Ghost, however, is the very embodiment of the fear generated from the inversion against human curiosity where that which can be known, no matter through what phenomenology, cannot be known unless it wants to be known. This takes away from the human the power of knowing as simple cognizance.
The ghost plays on the philosophical principle of aletheia, or the state of disclosure of the world in such a fashion that it can be made intelligible and basically cognizable to the human being. A society based on humanist principles such as our modern culture denies the ghost simply because the ghost is pictured as an aloof reality that can only be known when it wants to. Wanting to be known is the wrong term for it rather, the ghost is horrific in that it is a reality that has full control and full will over its presence in the reality of the world. It violates our current norms of exploration where the only limits we have ever experienced when it comes to knowing have always just been our own.
This inability to the willfully penetrate the reality of the presence of the ghost is the manifestation of a power taken away from us, a castration of sorts where we, with our gaze, are rendered helpless to the behest of the horrific.