Incident in a Ghostland – Summary & Ending Explained

Released in 2018 and directed by Pascal Laugier, Incident in a Ghostland is a psychological horror film that delves into the complexities of trauma and the blurred lines between reality and illusion. The story follows Beth (Crystal Reed) and Vera (Anastasia Phillips), two sisters who, after the death of their aunt, inherit a secluded, dilapidated house in the countryside.

The narrative unfolds in a non-linear fashion, with the present-day scenes intertwined with flashbacks to the traumatic incident that occurs shortly after the sisters move into their new home. Late one night, the family is brutally attacked by a pair of sadistic intruders, Mother (Mylène Farmer) and the deformed son, Strangler (Rob Archer). The attack is relentless, leading to physical and psychological torment for Beth and Vera.

Years later, Beth, now a successful horror novelist, returns to the house with her own family. The reunion with her sister Vera triggers a series of disturbing events that blur the boundaries between reality and hallucination. As the sisters confront the lingering trauma of their past, the film takes unexpected twists, challenging the audience’s perceptions and keeping them on the edge of their seats.

The plot explores themes of resilience, the long-lasting impact of trauma, and the thin line between reality and the horrors of the mind. Laugier skillfully weaves a narrative that plays with the viewer’s expectations, creating a tense and unsettling atmosphere throughout the film.


Beth (Crystal Reed): Beth is the older sister, portrayed by Crystal Reed. The character undergoes a profound transformation, evolving from a victim of a brutal attack into a resilient survivor. Reed’s performance captures the emotional depth of Beth’s journey as she confronts her traumatic past and battles the demons that haunt her present.

Vera (Anastasia Phillips): Vera, played by Anastasia Phillips, is the younger sister who experiences the horrors of the attack alongside Beth. Her character is marked by vulnerability and fear, and Phillips effectively conveys the psychological toll of the trauma Vera endures. As the story unfolds, Vera’s character becomes a key element in the film’s exploration of the blurred lines between reality and nightmare.

Mother (Mylène Farmer): Mother, portrayed by Mylène Farmer, is the menacing and sadistic antagonist. Farmer brings a chilling presence to the character, making Mother a formidable force that instills fear and dread. Mother’s motivations and background add layers to the film’s narrative, contributing to the psychological complexity of the story.

Incident in a Ghostland Ending Explained

Spoiler Alert

The ending of “Incident in a Ghostland” is a mind-bending revelation that challenges the audience’s understanding of the events that transpired. The film twists the narrative in unexpected ways, blurring the lines between reality and hallucination.

As it turns out, much of the events portrayed in the film, including Beth’s success as a novelist and her return to the family home, are revealed to be part of a coping mechanism. In reality, Beth has been in a mental institution for years, crafting a fictional narrative to cope with the trauma of the attack. The film exposes the fragility of Beth’s psyche, revealing that she created a fictional version of her life where she overcame the horrors she experienced.

The character of Vera is also a construct of Beth’s imagination. Vera, as portrayed in the film, is a figment of Beth’s coping mechanism, representing her innocence and vulnerability. The revelation of this fabricated reality adds a layer of tragedy to the story, emphasizing the profound impact of trauma on the human mind.

The film concludes with a haunting scene where Beth, still trapped in her delusion, embraces the illusion of her sister’s presence. The final moments leave the audience questioning the boundaries between reality and the mind’s defense mechanisms in the face of unspeakable horrors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Based on a True Story? No, “Incident in a Ghostland” is not based on a true story. The film is a work of fiction created by Pascal Laugier, known for his previous work on the horror film “Martyrs.” While the narrative draws on themes of trauma and psychological horror, it is not directly inspired by real events.

What Is the Main Idea of the Movie? The main idea of “Incident in a Ghostland” revolves around the enduring impact of trauma on the human psyche. The film explores how the mind copes with unimaginable horrors by creating alternate realities and constructs to shield itself from the harshness of the truth. It delves into the fragility of sanity and the thin line between reality and delusion.

Is This Movie Worth Watching? “Incident in a Ghostland” is worth watching for those who appreciate psychological horror films that challenge traditional storytelling and play with audience expectations. The film’s intense atmosphere, unexpected twists, and thought-provoking themes make it a unique and unsettling cinematic experience. However, it is not recommended for those who are sensitive to graphic violence and disturbing themes.

What Is the Symbolism in “Incident in a Ghostland”? Symbolism in the film is layered, with the dilapidated house serving as a metaphor for the fractured mind and the lasting scars of trauma. The intruders, Mother and Strangler, represent the external forces that inflict pain and suffering, while the blurred lines between reality and hallucination symbolize the fragility of the human psyche in the face of trauma.

In conclusion, “Incident in a Ghostland” is a psychologically intense and emotionally challenging horror film that pushes the boundaries of the genre. Pascal Laugier’s storytelling prowess, combined with strong performances from the cast, creates a haunting experience that lingers in the mind and prompts contemplation on the profound effects of trauma on the human mind.