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Film / The Innkeepers

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The Innkeepers is a 2011 supernatural horror film directed, produced, and written by Ti West and starring Sara Paxton, Pat Healy and Kelly McGillis.

Two young slackers, Claire (Paxton) and Luke (Healy), are the last two employees of the soon-to-be-closed-down Yankee Pedlar Inn in Connecticut. Knowing that the inn is rumored to be haunted, they go out looking for the ghost of Madeline O'Malley, a jilted bride who killed herself at the inn many years ago, with the help of former sitcom actress turned medium Leanne Rease-Jones (McGillis), who is staying at the inn for a convention.


  • Arbitrary Skepticism: For a guy who's investigating hauntings, Luke is awfully quick to dismiss Leanne as a phony psychic. Then again, this was before we learn that he thought the whole thing was hokum to begin with, and was just making it all up based on stuff he'd heard. When he becomes convinced that Madeline is really haunting the hotel, he makes a run for it.
  • Asthma Peril: Sara has severe asthma, and drops her inhaler in the laundry room when things start getting spooky at the hotel. She decides to go back for it down the basement steps after alerting Luke and getting him out of the hotel. She gets locked in the basement and killed by Madeline.
  • Beauty Inversion: Sara Paxton dressed down, cut her hair short and wore no makeup. Could also be considered Hollywood Homely, as she is still blonde, slender, and generally pretty.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Claire in Luke's "re-enactment" of Claire's discovery of the ghost in the lobby.
  • Big Bad: Madeline O'Malley, the ghost haunting the hotel.
  • Black Screen of Death: We never do see Madeline catch Claire; we just see the aftermath.
  • Broken Pedestal: Claire was a huge fan of Leanne as an actress, and was disappointed when she "felt like an asshole" after meeting her. They eventually warm up, though.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Claire's inhaler.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Claire stops in at a nearby coffee shop and notices one of their specials is called "The One-Eyed Cyclops" - she points out the redundancy, but the barista doesn't get it.
  • Downer Ending: Luke's lost both his friend Claire and, given that the inn is closing down, his job.
  • Driven to Suicide: The elderly gentleman guest out of loneliness to his wife's death.
  • Electromagnetic Ghosts: Claire and Luke use recording equipment to pick up electronic voice phenomena, or EVP.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The very last shot of the film is an extended shot of an empty room in the inn. It is very clearly set up to make the viewer tense up in anticipation of a Jump Scare—which does come just before the credits. But one thing that's very easy to miss, even on repeated viewings, is the faint silhouette of Claire's ghost to the right of the window, who turns to look at the camera just before the door slams.
  • Fright Deathtrap: The ghosts aren't able to do much more than move small objects and cause whispering on the physical plane, so Madeline and the dead guest have to rely on scaring Claire into tripping down stairs, and triggering an asthma attack. Though whether Madeline truly intended to harm Claire is unclear.
  • Hell Hotel: Not quite as hellish as some, but more than hellish enough for Claire and Luke.
  • The Hero Dies: Claire is killed by Madeline.
  • The Internet Is for Porn: When going through Luke's internet history to find his paranormal site, Claire finds that he had been using the work computer to surf for porn.
  • Job Title
  • Jump Scare: In-universe. Luke gets Claire with an online "screamer" video in one scene.
  • Lovecraft Country: Connecticut, to be exact.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The movie is intended to be capable of being interpreted as the ghosts existing or not. Claire is already naive, paranormal investigation is that's stated to be capable of making people imagine things, and later, not sleeping well. Claire and Luke were also drunk the only time Luke encountered the ghost, which was also when Claire's more severe encounters happened. Though if you spot the aforementioned Freeze-Frame Bonus at the end of the film, this could be seen as lending credence to the perceived supernatural elements.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Several scenes in the film can scare the pants off you with minuscule effects thanks to long, quiet(ish) suspenseful buildup.
  • Oblivious to Love: Luke all but tells Claire he loves her, and Claire says she has a fun idea... which is to go ghost hunting in the basement.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Luke leaves Claire behind the moment he realizes that the ghost is real.
  • The Slacker: Claire and Luke.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Sure, Claire, go into the basement after the psychic lady warns you not to go down there. And while you're at it, go back down there when you hear strange noises coming from that direction, and run further into the basement rather than up and towards your friends.
    • Though given that she'd made those decisions after having more than a few beers and in the last case fell down a flight of stairs and hit her head, this is likely justified.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Claire is ultimately done in by an asthma attack.
  • Wight in a Wedding Dress: Madeline O'Malley.