Watch or Don’t: The Innkeepers

I’ve circled around The Innkeepers for some time now, because it was on a top 100 list that I wasn’t sure if I could trust. I finally gave it a chance on Netflix.

Summary

An inn, rumored to be haunted, is closing at the end of the weekend. Since it’s mostly vacant, the two employees, Claire and Luke (Sara Paxton and Pat Healy), decide to investigate any paranormal presence before the inn closes for good.

Entertainment Value

  • The relationship between the employees is spot-on: a mixture of inside jokes, insecurity, and sexual tension.
  • Laugh-out loud details: Lena Dunham plays a needy barista. It’s a small part, but she commits to the specificity, and it’s hilarious.
  • Silence. When Claire is investigating alone, the film makes good use of silence. No fancy music to make you scared, just how you would feel if you were actually in that situation.
  • The pieces come together in the last thirty minutes. Until then, there are a lot of unknowns building suspense.

Dark Muse Value

The film asks questions like:

  • Why do we give stories authority? Initially, Claire believes the place is haunted because Luke said so. Then she tells a little boy staying in the inn that it was haunted without having seen anything herself. I love the idea that stories impact our beliefs, often more than facts do.
  • How does horror live at the nexus of reality and fantasy? Instead of being far out supernatural or a straight-up human antagonist, this film takes place where the two meet without being cutesy. There are no annoying did-it-happen or oh-it-was-just-the-wind moments. The film just acknowledges that life takes place on both planes simultaneously. Very cool.

Verdict: WATCH

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