Skip to main content

'Ghostland' Review

Movies with themes that shock often don't work because there is no relief for the viewer. Some filmmakers know exactly how far to go.


What's It About? (Official)

The story follows a mother of two who inherits a home from her aunt. On the first night in the new home, she is confronted with murderous intruders and fights for her daughters' lives. Sixteen years later, when the daughters reunite at the house, things get really strange.


Quick Film Information

Director: Pascal Laugier.

Writer: Pascal Laugier.

Starring: Crystal Reed (Gotham), Mylène Farmer (a popular French singer), Anastasia Phillips (Skins), Taylor Hickson (Deadpool), Kevin Power (Horsemen), Rob Archer (A Christmas Horror Story).

Release: March 2018, USA June 2018.

Genres: Drama | Horror | Mystery | Thriller

Interesting facts: Taylor Hickson was injured filming this movie when a set piece with glass broke. She incurred 70 stitches and is suing the production team. Taylor was 19 when this was finalized and has a hefty scar. I have seen some reviewers call to boycott the film for unsafe practices and neglect.

Taylor Hickson and Emilia Jones

Taylor Hickson and Emilia Jones

What is Lovecraftian?

This term is featured often throughout the film as well as embodied with a fictional cameo from the man himself: H.P. Lovecraft. I have seen the term bandied about in many reviews. A debate arises due to its use as there are no slimy creatures nor are the antagonists from another planet.

The best definition I could find that gave additional meaning to the film was the following:

Merely knowing it exists can wear away at one's sanity, and seeing it can be even worse. They are not, in the classical sense, evil, but view humans as humans view ants.

For this reason, it could almost be said the film is a deconstruction of the Lovecraftian definition at its essence.

Rob Archer as The Fat Man

Rob Archer as The Fat Man

How Was It?

I've seen a lot of psychological films in the past few years. Many are hard to decipher when the symbolism is applied as thick as an Emo's mascara. The only symbolism I applied to Ghostland was the above term Lovecraftian used several times throughout. And because I think qualities and ideas are represented here, I will give Laugier a pass on that one. The idea that people can be monsters doesn't give all movies a pass to use the term. In this example not only has the suppression of knowledge turned out to be the cause of psychological imprisonment but the character's fates cannot be simply run away from. There are many inherent aspects of this film that I find appropriate and very cleverly used.

Apart from that, the movie is well orchestrated. I didn't let out a gasp at the twist in this. The film is put together in a way such that scripting in earlier scenes absolutely point to where the story is headed. Scripting in the middle of the film points out what is happening too. The scripting, for me, enhanced the story. It enabled me to look closer at elements and scenery and at what the characters were doing.

My favorite aspect of the film overall was the lack of drag and lull that so often gets inserted into so-called psychological films: as though someone decided I needed a bit of a moment to reflect on the moment before. I don't and I have a pause button for that. I have time after watching to have a little think or I can go back and re-watch it. The story keeps pushing on without any request from my brain to ask 'did I miss something?'

Final Thoughts

This film is good. It's not a masterpiece but Ghostland is absolutely worth watching. A home invasion movie that is not straightforward. One that will have many moments where you have to wonder what goes on in the mind of the person writing this stuff. My issue was that the police seemed to be aware of the antagonists and somehow hadn't found them for quite some time. It's nice that no one knocked on the door looking for them but also odd too.

It must be strange for a director and writer with a successful film to instantly have the eager viewers waiting for the follow up to compare it with the last. I must admit I have done that recently with Psychokinesis (2018), the follow up from Train to Busan (2016). And for both directors, hurry up and get the next one done!

I give Ghostland 4 vagina-smelling monsters out of 5.

Kevin Power (Candy Truck Woman) stalks Crystal Reed (Beth)

Kevin Power (Candy Truck Woman) stalks Crystal Reed (Beth)

© 2018 Movie Whisperer