Incident In A Ghostland
|Contributor||Ian Dimerman, Emilia Jones, Taylor Hickson, Brendon Sawatzky, Anastasia Phillips, Scott Kennedy, Mylène Farmer, Jean-Charles Lévy, Clément Miserez, Matthieu Warter, 5656 Films; Highwire Pictures; Incident Productions; Inferno Pictures Inc.; Kinology; Logical Pictur, Jean-Charles Levy, Pascal Laugier, Crystal Reed, Nicolas Manuel See more|
|Runtime||1 hour and 30 minutes|
Following her aunt's death, Colleen and her daughters inherit her house. However, during their first night in their new home, murderers enter the home, putting Colleen in a situation where she must fight to save her daughters' lives. When the girls suffer a terrible trauma during the night, their disparate personalities diverge even further. The younger daughter, Beth, is said to become a famous horror author with a perfect family and life in Los Angeles, while her sister, Vera, can't cope, and loses her mind faced to an unshakable sense of paranoia. Sixteen years later the daughters and mother reunite at the house where Colleen and Vera continue to reside, it is then that strange events begin to take place.
- MPAA rating : NR (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 0.7 x 7.5 x 5.4 inches; 2.72 Ounces
- Audio Description: : English
- Director : Pascal Laugier
- Media Format : NTSC
- Run time : 1 hour and 30 minutes
- Release date : July 24, 2018
- Actors : Crystal Reed, Mylène Farmer, Anastasia Phillips, Emilia Jones, Taylor Hickson
- Producers : Scott Kennedy, Ian Dimerman, Brendon Sawatzky, Matthieu Warter, Clément Miserez
- Studio : Lionsgate
- ASIN : B07CXK4NJJ
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #37,200 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- #2,829 in Mystery & Thrillers (Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
Reviewed in the United States on June 30, 2018
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It was well made and well-cast, centering on a single mother (Pauline, played by Mylène Farmer) and her two teen age daughters (the younger, Vera, played by two actresses in the film, and the older one Beth, the main character, also played by two actresses, the main one being adult Beth, played by Crystal Reed). Vera is the annoying younger daughter, at least annoying to Beth. Beth dreams of being a horror novelist (and even has an old fashioned type writer). The family moves into a creepy, two story house isolated out in the countryside, one they inherited from a recently deceased Aunt Clarissa in a will (a woman we never see). The house is filled with creepy antiques, most especially lots of Horror Movie Creepy Dolls.
On the way to the house, the family stops at a gas station in town, finds a tiny bit about things and younger Beth (played by Emilia Jones) reads in a newspaper about a series of home invasions where the parents are murdered but the daughters spared. On the way to the house a creepy candy truck drives by them aggressively.
Annnnd the candy truck is the people in the newspaper story. Of course it is. Not to give too much away, but after an extremely traumatic scene of home invasion, assault, attempted murder, and rape, we fast forward 16 years to where Beth is living in the Chicago area with her husband and son and is a successful horror writer. A really great life of best seller after best seller, a loving family, a comfortable home, appearing on talk shows, Beth is drawn back to home by a frantic call from her sister, who apparently still suffers traumatic delusions from that horrible night, still lives with her mother in that house and can’t move on, so Beth journeys home to see what she can do to help Vera.
From that point on the movie is as much about reliving that night as about what is the nature of reality. Is Vera being haunted? Why can’t she move on? How has Beth moved on so well, even using the material in her latest book? Why or how has Pauline moved on? Why are they still in the creepy house?
I liked the twist that we get in the film, the two bad guys were wonderfully creepy and evil (one a developmentally disabled man, one a cruel intelligent woman), though I tend to prefer my monsters to not be human, they are definitely monsters. The creepy, dimly lit house with hidden areas and lots and lots of scary dolls was neat.
Sometimes the raw emotional energy of screaming and pleading and suffering, while top notch acting, was a bit much to take if not outright uncomfortable to watch. Also a few too many jump scares for the sake of being jump scares.
Still, a nice twist in the middle, and bonus points for the best Lovecraft references in any movie to the man himself. By far!
First problem: it's one of those movies that telegraphs one thing, but delivers another. No, I'm not talking about the twist (I'll address that below) but rather the genre of horror itself. You have slashers, monster films, thrillers, giallos, zombie movies, etc. etc. That's what I'm talking about. The movie goes out of its way to reference H. P. Lovecraft. Over. And over. And over. And over. This makes you anticipate Lovecraftian themes or motives. and the movie doesn't really do any of that. Granted, almost all of horror is influenced by Lovecraft, but Lovecraft dinged two specific areas: cosmic horror and the dread of the unknown. None of that is really here. It's really one specific thing, genre-wise. It's like portraying yourself as a monster film, promising Humanoids from the Deep-style action, and then pulling out a generic slasher on the viewing audience. (The Lovecraft imagery does ultimately serve the purpose of the developing the main character's psyche, but you could do that much more subtly without sending your audience the wrong message)
Second problem: that twist. Don't listen to the praise. It sucks. First of all, it's not new or innovative. It's been around horror for years. It's just always been a twist ending, not a mid-plot twist. That's the difference here: the director moved it to the middle of the movie, and structured the entire second act around it. Here's the thing: putting it in the middle is also not new, but most movies do it as a simple scene, NOT AN ENTIRE ACT. The reality is- SPOILER!!!! SPOILER!!!!! the twist is nothing more than a dream sequence, not unlike the ballroom scene between Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie in Labyrinth. It serves the same function. But the director extends the sequence for a whole act, and then drops it for the third act. The reality is this movie could have been filmed as a two act movie with the second act entirely omitted and not a single thing would have been lost, narratively speaking. One could just write the main character of as going catatonic and not bothered filming any of the second act. It's not some genius twist. Period. END SPOILER!!!!!
Third problem: when you accept that the twist is really pretty poor in the grand scheme of things, it makes you realize that there were so many different directions that the director could have gone with the plot. A home invasion turned into a ghost movie or a possession film, for example. Maybe could have delved more into the killers' motivations. Could have followed through on the Lovecraft signalling and did something cosmic horror (The Void anyone?). Could have done something with the setting and back story of the aunt's creepy house.
Final problem: do we really need a rehash of making killers mentally deficient or trans? Really? It's been done so many times that it now feels ablest and transphobic. I will give Pascal the benefit of the doubt that this was not his intent, but come on, let's come up with better boogeymen....