The most memorable thing about the Innkeepers is its approach to build-up. Unlike most horror films, The Innkeepers takes its sweet time to create an air of suspense- almost dragging itself along the way. It’s quite refreshing because it was so different from most horror films that open with the characters driving straight into the terror. Although slow, it was not slow enough to put me to sleep because the music score was practically ordering my skin to tingle. The music and cinematography at this point take centre stage, teleporting the viewer to the perfect state of mind.
The film begins to pick up when people actually start staying at the Inn. This is when The Fantastic stream of horror finally gets introduced, and the fear of the unknown is a major theme throughout the rest of the film. Days that were once menial for the two innkeepers are suddenly shaken up by creepy instances (which is their fault, anyway, since they go looking for ghosts in that place) such as audio feedback on their ghost-hunting equipment, creepy psychic old women, and self-playing pianos.
However, you don’t know if these things are actually occurring, or if it really is just the product of Claire’s over-hyper imagination. The film feels too realistic and day-to-day that it becomes hard to take any form of supernatural power seriously. It just doesn’t feel in place. At first, I thought it was just an awkward concept, but when the film reached it’s end and Luke told the paramedics that he was banging on the door for Claire to open up during the scene wherein she died, the possibility of her being crazy crossed my mind. Perhaps she really just became obsessed with the idea of Madeline? I wasn’t so sure, but it made the supernatural elements feel much more in place as opposed to there actually being a ghost chasing her throughout the basement.
In contrast to the slow build-up, a lot of the horror elements arrived one after the other as we entered the depths of the film, and snowballed into a jam-packed closing sequence of bloodbaths (literally), psychic visions, and ghosts. It weirded me out a bit because I felt like all of the action was saved for the last fifteen minutes, and the film completely abandoned its slow-to-warm-up tactic that created such a glorious atmosphere. In my personal opinion, the scariest part of the film was when the old man checked into the inn and requested for that specific room because there is nothing scarier than mysterious old people in abandoned inns.