Directed by: Pascal Laugier
Written by: Pascal Laugier
1 HOUR 31 MINUTES
REVIEW BY VICKY BAGLEY
I need a sticker that says, "Ask me about French horror movies". Being a huge fan of the "New French Extreme" I'm always going to jump on anything even remotely related to films like Martyrs, and even though it may be Americanized, writer and director Pascal Laugier is back, with psychological horror film (Incident in a) Ghostland.
The story goes: A mother (Mylène Farmer) along with her two teenage daughters Beth (Emilia Jones) and Vera (Taylor Hickson), inherit a house from an aunt. As the family begin settling in on their first night in the new home, they are attacked by two vicious intruders. 16 years later, the two daughters reunite back at the house -- and that's when things start going berserk (Crystal Reed and Anastasia Phillips taking the roles of the now-adult daughters).
Ghostland isn't as complex as it might appear to be, and while you may think that this is a simple ghost story, let me emphasize, this movie is not a film about ghosts. It sports a very beautiful "French way" of storytelling (for lack of a better term) and paints a very vivid picture of family bonds -- specifically the kind between siblings; you know, where technically you hate each other, constantly fight and bicker, but ultimately operate under an unspoken rule of mutually exclusive "hate-love" (again, for lack of a better term). Basically, they're the only ones allowed to be mean to each other,
The film is very well shot, featuring gorgeous cinematography. If you're not used to French movies, or European movies in general, you might feel the difference in both pace and narrative.
More than likely you'll utter a "wtf?!" or two, but rest assured, it's only in the best kind of way. Narratively speaking, Ghostland shares similarities with Laugier's 2008 thriller, Martyrs (with shades of Livide). Not everything is spelled out, so like it's disturbing forerunner, you'll be required to fill in some of the blanks with a bit of subjective interpretation. Essentially, if it wasn't a problem for you with Martyrs, it won't be a problem here. It may be a bit uncomfortable and quite intense at times, but if you're a seasoned horror fan, it's certain that you've seen it all by now anyway.