‘The Haunted Hotel’ (2023) Ending Explained And Movie Recap: Is Ardo Dead?

The Haunted Hotel feels like an unabashed reminiscence of my childhood. I’m sure a lot of us have watched cringe-worthy Bollywood horror movies from the 2010s, but never had I thought I’d be coming across something so embarrassingly similar ever again. The Haunted Hotel is indeed quite haunting in that regard. Not too sure about the jumpscare part, though. Through its obvious screenplay, this movie gives away the climax sooner than it wants to.


Spoilers Ahead 

What’s The Story About?

Set in Semarang, Indonesia, in 1981, Ningrum is a hotel staff, who, while working her shift, hears the sounds of someone sobbing on the third floor. Earlier, her boss had explicitly instructed her not to go to the third floor because of some renovations, but then, who wouldn’t want to help a person in agony? Ningrum follows the sound to the eerie corridor on the third floor and stumbles upon a room at the end. She opens the room and sees a woman with white hair and extremely pale skin. Adding to her eerie nature, this woman speaks “Three Days, Midnight.” Hearing these words, Ningrum runs away. On the third day since the incident, Ningrum tells her daughter about what she saw. What makes it even more disturbing is the fact that strange things have been happening around her ever since. Her daughter encourages Ningrum to pray, thinking it will calm her nerves. However, after she is done praying, an entity brutally kills Ningrum. Ningrum’s flayed body is discovered by her daughter later on. 


The story takes place 3 days later, when Raina and her younger sister Fey move to Semarang to take charge of the same hotel that Raina has recently inherited from her late father, Djanuar. The hotel was previously looked after by her maternal grandparents, who seem delighted by their move to the city. As it turns out, Raina is herself surprised to find out that her father has a hotel in his inheritance. 

The next day, while getting Fey enrolled in a local school, she runs into her ex, Ardo, with whom she broke up six months ago, following a hysterectomy. Raina learns about Ningrum’s recent death from Ardo and confronts her grandparents about it, who admit that they didn’t wish to make her uneasy. However, her grandparents are clearly hiding something. 


How Does Raina Get Cursed By The Ghost?

Raina’s grandmother instructs her to stay away from the third floor. She makes up an excuse that, because of renovation, it’s quite unsafe to head up there. The same evening, while taking a stroll around the premises, the room on the third floor grabs her attention when she sees the lights on. Out of curiosity, she heads up there, only to hear someone sobbing. The main door to the corridor is locked, but she breaks the lock and enters anyway. Similar to Ningrum, she follows the sound to a room at the end and sees a pale woman who, unbeknownst to Raina, curses her with three days to live. Even though Raina finds it quite strange, she is not creeped out by the incident until strange occurrences begin to happen around her. During one of these occurrences, she ends up seeing this apparition while attending to a guest. The entity attacks Raina, but she is saved by Ardo. This makes her realize that the power in play here is of a supernatural nature. 

Is Fey Cursed As Well?

While at school, Fey is asked by her teacher to fetch some props from the biology lab. Suddenly, Fey hears someone whispering her name. Fey follows the sound to a 3D biological model, which comes to life and attempts to stab Fey. Hearing Fey’s screams, her classmates rush to her aid. Fey hysterically rushes out of the lab to evade the spirit, but when her teacher steps inside, everything is in its place. Deeming it to be a case of panic attack, Fey’s teacher summons Raina, who immediately realizes that Fey is also being haunted by the same ghost. When she asks Fey if she had been to the room on the third floor, she says that she had the previous night. 


What Secrets Are Fey’s Grandparents Hiding?

Following the attempt on Raina’s life, her grandparents come clean about the incidents. Around 6 years ago, they were struggling financially. That is when Raina’s father, Djanuar, offered to take care of the hotel and gave them the free will to keep the profits for themselves. During the hotel’s construction, a worker met a brutal death after he spotted the ghost on the third floor, who cursed him as well. Raina’s grandparents had kept the incident a secret since it would’ve been bad for the reputation of the hotel. The hotel was already struggling, and the news of the worker’s death would have made things worse for them. 

What Clues Do Raina, Fey, And Ardo Find At The Hotel?

According to the curse, Raina and Fey have life spans of only three days, and staying idle would only result in death. This is why Raina, Fey, and Ardo reach a uniform conclusion to search for clues in the room where the ghost was seen by them. Initially, only Raina and Fey enter the room, but then Fey is possessed by the ghost. This prompts Ardo to rush in as well. Regardless of the horrors, Raina finds a clue in a piece of a note under the bed inside a broken floor tile. 


Raina’s grandmother reveals that they found similar broken tiles under the bed, implying that the pieces of this note have been scattered around the hotel like a puzzle. As expected, they find the remaining pieces, only to reveal a poem written by someone named Jasmine. The poem turns out to be a love letter for Djanuar from the woman who haunts the hotel. 

What Does Raina Find Out About The Woman?

There are other hints in the poem that lead Raina and Ardo to a pine forest nearby, where they spot several patches of jasmine. For the flower to grow in such an unrelated terrain is quite unusual. Fortunately, they come across a man rowing his boat in a nearby lake, who reveals that the flowers are native to his village. He offers Raina and Ardo to come to his village and talk to the village chief, whom he suggests might have answers. However, when questioned about the woman, the village chief angrily turns them down and walks away. Later, they end up talking to his wife, who reveals that the woman Raina and Ardo were referring to was her own daughter, Menoer Samardi. Menoer was an albino, and since she was a child, she was ostracized by the villagers. Even her father, the chief, was cruel to her and kept her within the confines of their house. Menoer ran away from the village when she was 20 and hasn’t been seen ever since. 


Raina and Ardo return to the hotel the next day and call for Ki Danang, a local shaman whom they had consulted before as well. Ki Danang performs a ritual to further reveal what happened to Menoer. After she ran away, Menoer bumped into Djanuar, who was known as Baskara back then. Baskara, an orphan himself, offered shelter to Menoer at the hotel. The hotel had never been completed, and the only room furnished enough for her to live in was the room on the third floor. Gradually, Baskara and Menoer fell in love as well, until Baskara had to go to Jakarta on a short leave. Menoer wrote the poem for Baskara back then. She tore the note into pieces and scattered them throughout the rooms as a game for him to play. However, Baskara never returned, which made her anxious. Eventually, she ended up going to Jakarta and finding Baskara married to another woman. Heartbroken by this revelation, Menoer went back to the hotel. Baskara’s betrayal made Menoer feel like she was not worth being loved, which made her vengeful towards the world. She spent three days flaying herself until she took her last breath. This is why Menoer’s vengeful spirit gives people three days to torment them until she finally kills them. Ki Danang explains to Raina that to make Menoer stop the killing, they must prove that she was indeed loved by Baskara. Before Ki Danang can help them with anything else, though, Menoer’s spirit brutally kills him as well. 

What Does Raina Find Out About Her Father?

Following Ki Danang’s death, Raina is disappointed by her father’s actions. Additionally, the only person who could help them is also dead now. But then Fey finds a ring and a poem addressed to Menoer in her father’s belongings. It turns out her father did love Menoer as well, but his story was a tragic one. 


Baskara had left for Jakarta that day, but it was not for business. He went to Jakarta to buy a ring for her, as he wished to marry Menoer, but he was unfortunately hit by a car. Baskara lost his memories almost entirely following the accident. The people responsible for his accident, out of guilt, named him Djanuar after their own late son. They adopted him as their son and even got him married to a woman. Some time later, when Djanuar had his own child, he recalled his memories from before the accident. By the time he reached the hotel, Menoer’s body had already decomposed. Baskara buried the body in the tunnels under the hotel and marked the spot with an inscription of jasmine on the wall next to her grave. He couldn’t tell anyone about Menoer and had to live with the guilt of losing his lover his entire life. 

How Do Raina And Ardo Get Rid Of Menoer’s Spirit?

Realizing that her father indeed cared about Menoer, Raina and Ardo head to the dungeons below the hotel. They believe that putting the ring on Menoer’s body might free her of the curse. Arriving in the dungeons, they split ways to find the spot sooner. However, Ardo is possessed by Menoer’s spirit, who then attacks Raina instead. Although bearing injuries inflicted on her by the possessed Ardo, she somehow manages to put the ring on Menoer’s remains. As soon as she does this, Raina’s curse is lifted, and Ardo comes back to his senses. 


How Does Ardo Die?

Following the horrifying ordeal, Raina, Fey, and Ardo take a sigh of relief. Their curses have been presumably lifted, which gave Raina and Ardo the chance to have a conversation about their past. Raina reveals that she broke up with him because she could not bear children for Ardo following a hysterectomy due to cancer. However, Ardo comforts her, clarifying that he doesn’t care about having biological children. He suggests that they can always adopt children, as so many kids out there are in need of loving homes. With the cat out of the bag, Raina and Ardo reunite as Ardo proposes to Raina for marriage. The next day, it turns out that Ardo’s curse wasn’t lifted at all. In his hotel room, Menoer’s spirit reveals herself and flays Ardo to death. Raina finds his body and calls the police. Both Fey and Raina previously thought that the curse was gone now and Menoer’s spirit had been freed, but clearly, they were wrong. The police take Ardo’s body away while Raina talks to Fey about why they were spared. 

Fey, who is once again possessed by Menoer, explains that because of their actions, Menoer’s broken heart has been healed. They were Baskara’s daughters, which is why Menoer spared them; however, her disdain for other people did not extinguish. Until all the people who wronged Menoer do not die, she will continue to kill people. She cannot choose to leave either, as there is no place in heaven for spirits who died by suicide. Before going away, Menoer assures Raina that she will not hurt her or Fey. It is implied that Raina and Fey move away from this Javanese city, and the hotel is shut down. Menoer, however, continues to kill people in the same manner. Her next victims are two police officers who are investigating the hotel room. The Haunted Hotel ends on a gritty note about the cycle of violence that started with society’s wrongdoings. 


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Shrey Ashley Philip
Shrey Ashley Philip
A teacher, photographer, linguist, and songwriter, Shrey started out as a Biotechnology graduate, but shifted to studying Japanese. Now he talks about movies, advocates for ADHD awareness, and embraces Albert Camus.

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