The Innkeepers Movie Poster Image

The Innkeepers



Well-crafted haunted hotel movie has drinking, some gore.
  • Review Date: February 3, 2012
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie has a somewhat negative outlook. Characters aren't rewarded for their bravery, but at least early displays of drinking, cynicism, and cowardice are eventually frowned upon.

Positive role models

None of the characters are bad people, but they all have serious flaws -- i.e. cowardice, drunkenness, etc. Claire is perhaps the most positive character, demonstrating bravery and selflessness in addition to her quirky moods; she rushes back into the fray to help others, and she refuses to run from danger. On the downside, she doesn't seem to have much drive in life, and her ultimate fate may make her less than an ideal role model.


The movie has long non-gory stretches, but when the scary/gory stuff happens, it happens full-blast. Viewers see bloody bodies, scary ghosts, and frightening attacks. The main character, a woman, is sometimes in peril. A character tells scary ghost stories to a young boy. Characters die.


The female lead takes a shower, but no sensitive body parts are shown. She's also seen wearing skimpy panties; she wears a long shirt over them. The male lead is seen in his underwear. He also subtly flirts with the female lead, but she doesn't quite pick up on it. Verbal reference to "Internet porn."


Language is relatively infrequent but does include a few uses of "f--k" and "s--t," plus "ass," "asshole," "damn," and "bitch."


Characters drink Schlitz beer. Cans are shown sporadically throughout the movie's second half.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A supporting character is shown to be an alcoholic. She leaves empty mini-bar bottles all over her room, and, upon awakening, asks whether one of them still has anything in it. The two lead characters decide to get drunk on beer one night; viewers see empty beer cans lying around as they act tipsy.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Innkeepers -- an indie horror movie about a haunted hotel from the director of The House of the Devil -- has a few very scary moments and some scenes with strong blood and gore, though neither is constant. There's no sex or nudity, but there is sexual suggestion, plus shots of characters in very little clothing. Strong but infrequent language includes a few uses of "f--k" and "s--t"; characters also drink, and a supporting character is shown to be an alcoholic.

What's the story?

The Yankee Pedlar Inn is closing its doors for good. During the inn's final weekend, employees Luke (Pat Healy) and Claire (Sara Paxton) agree to sleep at the hotel and take turns working. At the same time, they hope to hunt for the ghost of Madeline O'Malley and capture her on tape. Meanwhile, there are the guests to attend to, including a crabby mom and her young son, a mysterious old man, and a burned-out actress-turned-medium named Leanne (Kelly McGillis). The latter warns Claire not to go into the basement, but that's just where the ghost seems to be hiding out. ...

Is it any good?


Horror fans who like a little something extra will appreciate this. With his last movie, The House of the Devil, director Ti West earned many fans but turned off many more. His unique rhythms are very simply not for everyone. Like Quentin Tarantino and Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive), West clearly draws on classic movies of the 1980s and earlier for his inspiration. Rather than delivering blood and gore and jump-shocks on cue, he's more like a magician, deflecting expectations and switching around the payoff.

With THE INNKEEPERS, West has both perfectly followed up his previous film and improved on it. The movie is focused more on brightly lit corridors and rooms than on shadowy darkness. Likewise, this time he has loveable characters, as well as warmth and humor, to help pass the time between unexpected shocks. Paxton is especially good, turning in a disarmingly goofy performance that, in a more mainstream movie, would make her a star.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about The Innkeepers' violence. What's scarier -- the stuff you can see or the stuff you can't? Does the movie have scary moments without violence?

  • Does it seem like nothing is happening in certain scenes? Were you interested by these scenes or bored? Does something need to happen during every moment to make a movie interesting?

  • What's the appeal of scary movies and/or horror movies? Why do some people like them while others don't?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 3, 2012
DVD release date:April 24, 2012
Cast:Kelly McGillis, Pat Healy, Sara Paxton
Director:Ti West
Studio:Magnet Releasing
Run time:100 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:some bloody images and language

This review of The Innkeepers was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byconnorfarthing99 August 2, 2013

Quite Scary At Parts

This film had literally next to no story and ended leaving lots of unanswered questions but not open for a sequel to answer them. Although sometimes scary, It made no sense and it was a simple movie. Also this movie had no exposition so you were left guessing through the entire film. Watch if you want but prepare to be disappointed.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written byCWG1 May 19, 2014

Easily could of been PG-13

This movie was pretty bad honestly... but if you are interested or your child is here is what you should know. There is nothing really to R rated about this film except for a little bit more than the allowed language. This movie lacked many things and could have been way better but instead all we get is another failed attempt. There is violence but nothing graphic or strong. The main reason for the R rating is because it has one or two more F words allowed for a PG-13 film, so as a whole the movie is rather tame. mature 10 and up, but I recommend not wasting your time.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old December 23, 2013

scary but flawed

it was a scary movie but the plot line was flawed. there was no reason for the ghost to have a grudge against the girl. still, i loved the movie and it scared the hell outta me.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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