Crowned by the Grand Prix at the festival 2018 from Gérardmer, GHOSTLAND, the new film from Pascal Laugier, disturbs as much as it fascinates. A work of art where the body is crack, where the dark we terrify, before the dread of a loss of innocence that explodes into a hymn to the imagination.
It is the silences, particularly them into jubilant. Those of a film session where the fear would be so intense that the faces would lose expression. Only hear gasps, eyes full of fear and souls crushed. A silence where fears become immobile, as if to bear witness of the body to mental body operating between the viewer and his perception of the moment. And when a few words, a few whispers dare to affront to silence aversion, the Horror itself seems to possess the words of its passive victims : each patter becomes the witness to a trauma-down timer, a shock such as some of the spectators came to question the very nature of what they saw.
Because GHOSTLAND is built on the paradox of immersion : a malaise that we éviscère as the bruises and contusions brought to the screen are diffused in the paralysis of our sensations, before this inertia is lost in the pain of our inaction. As a just outcome to this fun that takes Pascal Laugier to transform his audience by dolls that get pushed around.
And under the lesions of these body hurt, still suffering all radical. Since GHOSTLAND feeds on his or her own nightmare to instill in his audience a state of terror standing. A way for Laugier to bring us back to the essence of cinema horror : we establish as martyrs and scare up to have the horror in the skin. A kind of stimulation in the dread of injuries, as was the final experiencing of Mother, where Aronofsky was pushing the trauma until her own destruction. Since all the strength of GHOSTLAND lies in its ability to appropriate the plight of its characters.
In GHOSTLAND, the eggs do not break, they collapse until the yolk is no longer recognizable.
Of the body and soul tortured until you lose the emotion. As the crescendo of the faces wrinkled, the violence is more disturbing. Sequences where the wildness would be drowning almost, in the kindness of the beating. Only, pain, and choking, there could be no question as to amplify the abuse without an approach justified : that of a director asking his audience, ” voyeuristic assumed/ repressed “, on the limits or not of the fantasy violence. Are we ready to accept the intolerable on the grounds of its only illusion ? Because of any malice on the screen assumes a part of acceptance. As demonstrated already Haneke in his Funny Games , and his executioners playing / hitting with the body and the psychology of a family in the way of a round of Golf – but Laugier does would surely not compare. In GHOSTLAND, the eggs do not break, they collapse until the yolk is no longer recognizable.
Has the image of this disguise that it is for it to become the doll that they never had. And in this exploration of cross-dressing (just as vicious as in the Ordeal by Fabrice du Welz) and the objetisation twisted, Pascal Laugier transforms these sisters beaten in dolls of porcelain is cracked. The poster reminds us, moreover, admirably. Echo all the more loudly in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? of Robert Aldrich that these howls, Joan Crawford renaîtrait in the person of the sisters, martyred by Bette Davis obsessed by the Image of childhood : the example of this stage of preparation, physical makeup in Baby Jane where the doll play is moving away radically from the passions for children. No restraint, that of immodesty, if only for those “sniffles” scabrous. A discomfort “moral” on which insists outrancièrement Laugier, and which it is impossible to get out. Isolation, captivity symbolized by the cave, this place closed that the only exit possible remains of the staircase which, as in the film ofAldrich, embodies, paradoxically, the barrier to leakage and at the same time the revelation of the secret.
Discomfort of which it is impossible to get out.
But once the staircase reached, at the end of the torment, what else is there ? Bumps and blows to loss ? A question that never ceases to cross the plans of Pascal Laugier. A certain logic in the final in her career as a filmmaker, constantly put to the test of reality. Martyrs had been an opportunity for him to be inviting us to a kind of sharing of suffering narcissistic (that of a producer frustrated by the reception of his previous and first feature film) going beyond the limits that a normal person would be capable of supporting : the body literally stripped of their skin to a pain that is felt as much as it questions. A suffering that Laugier handles once again with control and greed, to be inhabited by this passion, this fever of cinema that characterized the free spirit of the 1970s, at which time he claims the influences of Peckinpah and the Grindhouse trash and unsanitary. Because of the influence and especially of the imagination, GHOSTLAND drinks for crossing the cruelty of moments that fancy unexpected.
GHOSTLAND would it be a romantic movie ? Paradoxical, and yet. His monstrosity is intended only to be drowned by the imagination and his creative. Has the image of this house, the outside of which would walk the spirit in the recesses of a texas Chainsaw Massacre, before the inside reveals a true and fascinating cabinet of curiosities, where the organic approach of the dolls leads them to believe that this building would be ready to devour us. Don’t worry, the point of Monster House in Laugier. Just young girls crushed by ” humanity “, this passage between ages where innocence is infringed and is lost in a blood bath. Of dolls forgotten to the image of these “stuffed” as you like, before you leave it. As a version that is gross and unhealthy for the spirit of the Beehive, and where the dreams of children are facing the horror of the reality.
Experience the Horror or escape into the Imagination ?
A theme across all of the works of Pascal Laugier has up to now snatch the innocence to the wounds of the reality. Holy Angel bore within him the weight of History, of the past and relics, souvenirs, voluntarily masked, pent-up in the basement of the mind. Until the mirror breaks, and reveals these children’s drawings contrasted with the cold atmosphere and clinic their loss of innocence. The Secret gave a heart to this child sacrificed : that of a young girl hiding in the Silence to escape his reality. And always this question, this dilemma where there is a doubt : live in the horror or escape into its opposite ? GHOSTLAND does not give a precise answer and prefer the choice of the duality.
Even sometimes do bathe in its explicit brutality in a dreamlike close of the transfiguration. Laugier has fun effect to play on the perceptions up to embed the dream into the real world. All this to make her heroine a writer, become a drawing in the punishment of the substance necessary to his novel : in the end, a character in the process of inventing. Then should he flee into the imaginary ? All click creative is in a shock, a trauma. Whether it’s a nightmare or a screen illuminated by the passion, the heart always finds a reason to fight. Shake for a kiss in Casablanca or a severed head in Texas : the movement is the same. Here, the passion of the writing pushes the heroine to be locked in the eye motionless mentor. For a “Fantasy modern ” ? The creation of a universe ? Or simply the birth of an emotion…
As in High Tension, the Horror of GHOSTLAND is a question of point of view, a reality that one chooses or not to conceal. Since horror works by the look, and Laugier is perfectly sharpened. Corridors without end spaces obscure, Laugier uses every corner of darkness to make his story of survival in continuous asphyxiation. A place to discuss the wonderful actresses allowing the work to produce the desired effect of terror gross : Mylène Farmer, impeccable as a mother figure ; Crystal Reed/ Emilia Jones and Anastasia Phillips/ Taylor Hickson, in their incredible abandonment psychological in the face of the figures, terrifying and ineffaçables of the torturers. The heroines strong, beaten up, cognées, and the sorely tried but never standing up even when darkness seems to erase any trace of hope.
The home invasion with fear and rejected, under the attraction aggressive in this hard-hitting calvary kids, GHOSTLAND turns out to be an entertainment, effective, successful and taking. Nevertheless, the predictability of its final just tarnishing slightly in the table of the painter of horror : where horror is stopped in a act of prospects, nothing would have had to put an end to it, leaving to re-start a cycle. To extreme close Laugier, everything wants to be placed under the sign of disorder ordered : an emotional chaos which ruled the aesthetics of fright and the flight allegory, that of the imaginary and real fictionner. Monsters on the threshold…
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• Implementation : Pascal Laugier
• Scenario : Pascal Laugier
• Main actors : Crystal Reed, Emilia Jones, Taylor Hickson, Anastasia Phillips, Mylène Farmer
• Release Date : march 14, 2018
• Duration : 1h29min