H.p. Lovecraft, ghosts, dolls, kidnpping, torture. Just a few keywords to inform you what this movie is about.
You take a mother with two daughters, you let an aunt pass away which means the family needs to move to take care of the house of said aunt. You throw in two dudes with a candy van and voila,
The recipe for Incident in a Ghostland 2018.
I love horror stories though I have a few peeves. Not triggers, but things I don’t really want to see in a horror movie.
Dolls are one of them. Dolls freak me out especially the ones used for ventriloquism. Not all of them, just the ones that look human enough or have those huge round eyes (remember the doll from Goosebumps? Yeah, that was my nightmare as a child).
The movie Ghostland has dolls, many dolls and though they are not the focus point, I had to turn my head a few times.
So what is Ghostland actually about?
Minor Story Spoiler Alert
Two girls and their mother are on their way to the house of the mom’s sister. She passed away and now the mother as inherited the house. During the journey they are passed by a van, a candy van to be specific. The driver of the van waves at them before continuing. The two daughters do not get along with each other. The older sister, Vera, is always annoyed with her (one year younger) sister, Elizabeth, who wants to be a horror novelist. Vera is also pissed at her mother because moving meant leaving her boyfriend behind.
They stop at a gas station, where the candy van appears again, before reaching the house of their aunt. The house is old and dark and filled with dolls. Yup, dolls. From big to small, porcelain to plastic. Even inside a chinese puzzlebox which functions as a mirror. The family is in the house for not even an hour and Elizabeth miraculously gets her period for the first time ever (which basically freaks her out as her pants are covered with a giant red spot.) Unluckily for Elizabeth the horror doesn’t stop there. Two men (a large obese bald guy and a thin man dressed as a woman) break into the house, knock the mother out and grab hold of both Vera and Elizabeth. The fat man takes the two girls down to the basement, sniffs their crotches and drags Vera with him (as she is not on her period).
Elizabeth doesn’t do thing, being too scared shitless with everything going on. She only cries and wails and hides her face each time something happens. The mother luckily appears and kills the thin man and the fat man.
Fast forward to years later. Elizabeth is an adult, a famous horror novelist with a husband and a son named Harlequin (yes, you may laugh).
She gets a call from Vera who apparently has been so severely traumatised by past events the mother keeps her locked up in her house (the aunt’s original house). Elizabeth drives to her mother to visit her and her sister. Mother and daughter have a great time while Vera is being mentally haunted by the trauma. She screams, attacks others and even hurts herself. She tries to convince Elizabeth she is being attacked and that mom isn’t telling Elizabeth the truth about her.
Now at this point I thought for a moment that the mom was behind these weird attacks on Vera. I mean why would you lock up your own child instead of going to an asylum? Why stay in the house where you and your daughters were attacked and almost killed? And why is Vera being attacked and not Elizabeth who did shit during the attack?
Well these questions were quickly answered…
Huge spoiler alert!
It’s all a dream. Yup, you heard me. Elizabeth wakes up from her dream world and is still 15 years old, still in her aunt’s house and her mother is still dead. Vera and Elizabeth are being kept as dolls by the two men (though one is more of a retard than a man). It’s unknown how long they have been in yhe house, but probably not very long. Both are beaten up pretty badly, Vera more so than Elizabeth. It’s Elizabeth’s turn now and the yhin man dresses her up in a doll dress and puts make up on her. Prior to this, Vera warned Elizabeth toobey and not cry and definitely not move should the big man choose her to play with. Yes, it is that sick.
I won’t go into details but this scene disgusted me a lot.
Elizabeth finally gets balls and manages to attack the fat man. The two girls escape the house and manage to make it to the road where they are spotted by a police car. Alas they are not saved. The thin man followed them and shoots both cops before taking the girls back to the house. Elizabeth goes back into her dream world state… (you can tell I am annoyed with this). In the house Vera gets picked to get tortured now but both girls are saved for real this time as a 3rd cop arrives (he was notified through radio when the cops first encountered the girls). He kills both men and the girls are saved for real this time.
Conclusion and rating
This movie gave me mixed feelings. The story was good, though massively disturbing, and the whole plot of Elizabeth making up a dreamworld to aviod having to face reality was realistic. I was very annoyed with Elizabeth’s behaviour of not fighting for her life (now before you start the hate, I know very well we all react differently in these type of situations. I was mainly annoyed because I did fight. So seeing someone not fight, triggers me to think about what could have happened if I hadn’t fought).
One point that bothered me most were the acting skills. And only the skills of the actress who portrayed the adult version of Elizabeth. This lip botox filled chick delivered a very unconvincing performance. The mother was brilliant as was young Vera and young Elizabeth.
As for the rating. It isn’t a bad horror if you like disturbing, torture and psychological movies. Story wise it deserves a positive grade, therefore I rate it a;
6 out of 10