I approached Incident in a Ghostland as I do with a lot of shudder movies. Nothing more than the short description and a movie cover. This is what jumped out at me “Something strange is happening, again. From the director of MARTYRS, comes a frightening, visceral new horror story.” MARTYRS was a disturbing film and the director proved himself quite capable of telling a unique and compelling story. Incident in a Ghostland does not disappoint. It’s a home invasion story told in a unique way. I found myself immersed and drawn into the movie so much that it took me a while to come down afterward. I felt like I was there with this family the whole time.
The movie opens with Beth (Emilia Jones), Vera (Taylor Hickson) and their mom Pauline (Mylène Farmer) moving to a new home. By all accounts, they are a normal, mostly happy, family. Beth is an aspiring writer who adores H.P. Lovecraft and Vera is your average American teenager. Naturally, they fight because they’re sisters with different priorities.
Pauline does the best she can to keep Vera from fighting with Beth while also getting moved into an old farmhouse home filled with her sister’s old junk. It’s got room to room dolls. All types of fabric, styles, and some even talk. You can’t throw a rock in this house without hitting ten dolls it seems. They are going to make room though, sell or get rid of this stuff and make it their own. However, this is a horror movie and things do not go according to plan.
That’s all I am going to say specifically about this movie though. I would hate to spoil anything. The perspective of the story is what gripped me the most. It’s fresh, unique and inspiring. I feel like this tackles trauma and the different coping mechanisms that we develop when overcoming fear, tragedy, and horror in our normal lives. It’s what hooked me in and kept me watching but it’s also what made me feel such raw emotion that when it was over I was done. At this point in my life, I’ve seen hundreds if not thousands of horror movies so I always take notice when a new one can still grab me like this.
I’m including in this post just the two pictures of the sisters. A before and after shot if you will. This movie has stuck with me for days but in a way that has me wanting to watch it again. I always resist the urge to immediately revisit a film but I think this one will be a Halloween recommendation for my friends. The writing and the performance of Vera and Beth are just incredible. I can’t get this movie out of my head.
If you’re reading this blog then you’re likely a horror nut like me. If so please do check this out. I’m not sure why Shudder exclusives get misaligned but some in the horror community are trepidatious around them. Gems like this are in there and are absolutely worth the attention of horror fans. Check it out and let me know what you think of it in the comments below. Are home invasions still scary or overdone? Was the unique way of storytelling in this as effective for you as it was for me? I’d love to hear your opinions.