Pauline (Mylene Farmer) and her two teenage daughters arrive at a creepy house in the country they inherited from their aunt. On the first night there they are attacked by some creepy intruders and vigorously fight back…
then the story jumps 20 years forward, where one of the girls, Beth, is living in New York with her husband and son, and is a successful horror novelist. One night she receives a call from her sister begging for help. It seems that after all these years she is still being tormented by someone or something. As Beth returns to the house of her childhood she needs to figure out if the horrors that still haunt her sister are real.
I am a big fan of Pascal Laugier, who created MARTYRS – one of the most terrifying, but also meaningful, horror movies of our time. While the story of GHOSTLAND is hardly original Laugier feels at home here with a familiar plot of two women confined in a creepy house, going against each other and the world and ultimately searching for the answers of what is happening to them.
Half way through, the plot makes a u-turn (similar to Laugier’s previous work TALL MAN) which might be annoying to some viewers, as this forces them to look at the story from a different perspective. For me, however, it only lifted the stakes higher.
The two young leads of the movie are a tour de force, running around screaming for most of the movie’s length, and the house is a one creepy maze full of broken dolls – the location and the props in GHOSTLAND are spot on. Mylene Farmer (a famous pop diva in France) has a glamorous presence and looks at ease with the gothic atmosphere of the film (her music videos are tiny horror films that made her famous early in her career).
The movie has a “sweaty palms” type of atmosphere of dread and is definitely effective. There’s not much character study, but you do care for the protagonists as they are young girls facing a terrifying ordeal. While the movie is a less impressive work from this master of macabre it is definitely a must watch for horror lovers.