[Review] 'Incident In A Ghostland' Is An Intense, Memorable Ride From Writer/Director Pascal Laugier
The movie opens with a mother and her two daughters driving a country road to their new home that they just inherited from their aunt. After some conversation/character building between the women, we hear sirens that seem to be police. But once the camera shifts to the rearview mirror, we see that it is, in fact, not police. Rather a pseudo cross between an ice cream and candy truck. The truck, driving erratically, pulls along side the women, now honking at them obnoxiously. The driver of the truck, who's face we can't see, begins to wave at the women. Pauline, the mother, (Mylene Farmer), and Beth (Emilia Jones) wave back at the silhouette that is the driver. As if now satisfied, the truck immediately slows so that now the silhouette is parallel with Beth's sister, Vera (Taylor Hickson) in the back seat. Instead of following the former, Vera does not wave and instead puts a middle finger up. The truck, still honking, still blaring sirens, slams on the breaks... We now see our title - Incident In a Ghostland.
Pascal Laugier (Martyrs) takes you down a dark road, but, for horror fans, it's a ride you won't forget anytime soon. It's almost as if, in some ways, he tightened up Martyrs whilst combining it with a more realized version of Alexandre Aja's High Tension. While Ghostland is similar to both pieces mentioned, audiences shouldn't be concerned that they're about to watch a rehashing. It remains fresh, unique, and is absolutely brutal.
Beautifully macabre set designs. Near perfect editing. Wonderful cinematography which somehow manages to give you a sense of dread no matter what's going on in the scene. And also, audiences can't ignore the ever unnerving and convincing performances from everyone involved. Especially the one turned in by Emilia Jones.
This movie is an above average evocation of time, place, character, moral choices, immoral certainties, human nature and fate. And the ending will leave you wondering what is the actual reality of things. Much like when we watched Leo's totem in Inception spin... Will it continue to spin, or will it topple?