Wednesday, April 7, 2021

#2,549. Incident in a Ghostland (2018)

Written and directed by Pascal Laugier, 2018’s Incident in a Ghostland grabs you by the throat in its very first scene. 

While moving in to their late Aunt’s dilapidated house, single mother Pauline (Mylene Farmer) and her teenage daughters Beth (Emilia Jones) and Vera (Taylor Hickson) are attacked by an oafish mute (Rob Archer) and his companion (Kevin Power). Though taken by surprise, Pauline manages to get the upper hand on the invaders, ending this nightmarish experience once and for all.

Cut to 16 years later. Beth (now played by Crystal Reed) is a best-selling author of horror novels. She has the perfect husband (Adam Hurtig), the perfect son (Denis Cozzi), and the perfect life. 

Unfortunately, Vera (Anastasia Phillips) has never recovered from the terrifying home invasion, and begs Beth to help her. In an effort to end her sister’s torment, Beth returns to the scene of the crime, only to realize there’s more going on in this house than meets the eye.

To go any deeper into the story would constitute a spoiler, and Incident in a Ghostland is a film that earns its surprises. 

What I can tell you is that this is a very dark motion picture, and never once does it lose its edge; you are on pins and needles throughout. The performances (Reed, Phillips, Jones and Hickson, as well as Mylene Farmer as the girls’ mother)  are outstanding, and the film’s penchant for mystery (like Beth, we can’t quite get a grasp on what’s happening to Vera) as well as the solid direction of Pascal Laugier keep things moving along at a brisk pace.

To coincide with its darker elements (and there are plenty of them), at the heart of Incident in a Ghostland lies the touching story of two estranged sisters reconnecting, brought together by an unspeakable tragedy. In the end, Incident in a Ghostland also works on that level, and is an effective family drama.

But it’s the horror that will stay with you for a long, long time.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10 (strongly recommended)

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