Not a Myth – Ghostkeeper (1980)

Ghostkeeper is an interesting film for a number of reasons, one being that it is a Canadian production and a horror film on top of that and second, seeing it put together so well. It is a slow burn meaning it takes its time to get where it is going and even then, when the horror really starts, it still moves along at a methodical pace, refusing flash and going for substance and it makes it all quite good.

Taking place in the Rocky Mountains, a few friends decide to go snowmobiling just as it is getting dark and with a snowstorm coming in almost unexpectedly, they manage to find shelter at an abandoned hotel. From the very first, director James Makichuk starts things off on the right note, isolating his protagonists and cutting them off from the rest of the world thereby setting the stage for what is to come. Unsurprisingly for the audience though, the hotel is not actually empty as an old woman lives there with her two sons whom nobody sees. So it is that they all end up spending the night under the same roof and so it is that one of them dies quite horribly. From that point on, it is only a matter of time before the final two end up the same way and yet, Makichuk who writes the film along with Doug MacLeod throws in a little of the supernatural to keep it from being just the average slasher.

Though all of what is put on the screen for the audience is fairly straightforward in nature, Makichuk makes it captivating through some decent camera-work and the performances from the cast which are above-average for a film such as this. The ultimate reveal of what is actually killing the visitors was fascinating and made for something different, though in the end, comparable to demon possession – at least of a sort. What really makes the horror work in the film is the setting of it all, the solitude the characters are feeling and the reality of their situation, of being trapped in this inn with danger and death hounding them. Factor in some claustrophobia on top of it all as there is nowhere to go and it makes for some good tension and at times, a suspenseful ride.

All of that being said, the film is not particularly scary though if, in the place of those people, it most likely would be. That does not mean that it is not a spooky experience because it is and it is quite moody with a lot of darkness present throughout, both in terms of material and lighting. Altogether, Ghostkeeper is worth seeking out for horror fans who want something a little different and something a little under the radar.

3 out of 5

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