Incident in a Ghostland (original title Ghostland) is a 2018 psychological horror film directed by Pascal Laugier (notable works include Martyrs 2008).
At the start, single mother Pauline Keller (Mylene Farmer) is driving her two teenage daughters to their new home. A rural house inherited from an aunt. It’s a large ornate, moth-eaten home full of crumbling china dolls. Beth (Emilia Jones) is a shy type mostly interested in writing macabre stories in the vein of her idol H.P. Lovecraft so this suits her just fine. It’s repugnant to the more conventional, bratty Vera (Taylor Hickson), who’s had to leave a boyfriend behind and resents her mother’s presumed preference for Beth.
En route, the trio are briefly menaced by a speeding candy truck. At a gas station they glimpse a local headline. It’s about a string of brutal crimes in which mysterious intruders kill parents and torment their daughters at length. The Kellers have barely begun settling into their new home when a figure of indeterminate gender (Kevin Power) and a hulking monstrosity of a man (Rob Archer) turn up uninvited to make that recent history repeat itself.
After a series of horrifying events, Pauline Keller is triumphant and manages to successfully wrestle her family from the grips of this nightmare. We spin on many years and the family members have evidently survived their ordeal. A grown-up Beth (Crystal Reed) has become precisely the famous horror novelist she’d dreamed of being. With a doting husband (Adam Hurtig) and young son (Denis Cozzi) as further reward. However, She still has nightmares. After receiving a panicked call from her sister, wastes little time returning to the inherited house where her mother and sister still live.
Pauline is as beautiful as ever, but Vera (Anastasia Phillips) is a paranoid mess. She keeps reliving the past, imagining herself still brutalized over and over again. After spending some time experiencing Vera’s day to day mental breaks Beth starts to realise maybe her sister isn’t delusional at all.
Can Beth help Vera overcome her delusions? Or will her delusions continue to be her reality? Watch and find out.
It’s difficult to make a home invasion movie feel different but Incident in a Ghostland was unique right off the bat. No sooner than our family placing their first box in the house did our intruders burst in and begin their reign of terror. There was no build or watching from afar, just straight to the torture and horror. As soon as I saw Rob Archer’s “Fat Man” enter I was fully invested. Usually in such films you feel as though it’s possible for the intruders to be taken down but looking at him you just know there’s no way.
On top of a brilliant storyline with twists and perfect puzzle pieces, is an absolutely stellar performance from every single cast member. Both sets of sisters performed beautifully and they really nailed the casting as they look extremely alike. The makeup and effects were brutal and realistic, and it feels so authentic, clearly because the actors themselves went through a lot during filming. The whole film is tied together finally with its location and how well shot it is. I cannot praise this film enough and encourage you to go watch it right now, but make sure your front door is closed and no whimsical looking vans are parked nearby.
Incident in a Ghostland
- The Final Score - 10/1010/10