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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Atmospheric Snow-Set Horror, Another Hidden Gem.

9/10
Author: drownsoda90 from Portland, Oregon, USA
1 March 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Ghostkeeper" is an obscure little Canadian horror movie from the early 1980s that I'd read about and wanted to see for quite some time, so I was really happy when I got the chance to. "Ghostkeeper" revolves around a group of friends - two women, Jenny and Chrissy, and a man, Marty - who are spending their New Year's Eve in the snowy mountains. After stopping into a secluded store, they decide to head off for some snowmobiling before it gets dark, but as they climb up the icy mountain slopes, Chrissy crashes her snowmobile and it stops running. A snowstorm begins, and the gang decides to spend the night in a seemingly abandoned lodge, but discover a disheveled old woman who resides there with her son. While the group is spending the night in the darkened old place, Chrissy vanishes, leaving Marty and Jenny worried the next morning. Jenny begins hearing voices in her head, and starts to think she may be going crazy. But it seems that the old woman running the inn is holding a dark secret, and may want Jenny to be the new keeper of an evil, flesh-eating entity residing in the basement of the building.

A remarkably eerie and very atmospheric horror film, "Ghostkeeper" is yet another undiscovered horror gem that is hardly known of at all, even by hardened horror fans. This is surprising to me because I thought this was a pretty top-notch '80s horror flick, and had all the makings of a creepy little spook story. With some elements reminiscent of "The Shining", "Ghostkeeper" manages to weave an interesting and mostly original plot that, while it is a little obscure, is engaging nonetheless. The film opens with a title about the "windigo" (I thought it was spelled "wendigo", but whatever), a spirit told through Indian legend to reside in the mountains and is cannibalistic in nature. This caption ties in with the ghost-like creature/entity that is being kept in the basement of the abandoned lodge, and all comes together in the end. While the story may sound a little off the wall, it is actually very well put together and is consistently entertaining.

The atmosphere in this film is wonderful. Shot in the beautiful snow-covered mountains in Canada, this is an excellent setting for the story to unfold, and the bleak but beautiful scenery provides a few chills. The old lodge, surrounded by the Rocky mountains, is really spooky, inside and out - it's a large hotel/lodge and reminded me quite a bit of the setting for Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining", although much darker. The feeling of seclusion and foreboding is cranked to the maximum, and as the film progresses, things begin to get stranger and stranger for our three main characters. There isn't a lot of gore in this film, so those expecting a splatter fest will be disappointed - in fact, there is hardly any violence in the film at all, but it's still very effective and eerie nonetheless.

The performers are mostly unknown Canadian actors, and the acting isn't anything award-worthy, but it's passable enough. The best performance in the film is from Georgie Collins, who plays the mysterious (and very creepy) old woman who lives at the lodge with her son, and of course the "windigo" that is living in the basement. I was at first worried that the whole 'creature' element in the film might have made things a little corny, but it didn't come across that way at all - in fact, the actual windigo is never really fully seen, which adds to the mystique. The score here is also a nice addition, by Paul Zaza, who did work on slasher classics such as "Prom Night" and "My Bloody Valentine", and is very eerie and unsettling. The film ends in an unexpected way that is very bleak but strangely satisfying, and added to its over feel of spookiness.

Overall, "Ghostkeeper" is another one of those unknown horror gems that are hard to come by, but rewarding when discovered. It would be nice to see a distribution company pick this film up for a DVD release, because it (like many other films of its type) is being neglected by this. If you enjoyed the 1983 Canadian slasher "Curtains", or the 1980 stalker film "Prom Night", I'd recommend seeking out this spooky little Canadian gem. Recommended for fans of subtle and severely atmospheric horror films, although I'm not sure this film is for everybody - as for me, I love stuff like this. 9/10.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

a snow-covered creep-fest

Author: corpvault from United States
21 December 2005

Ghostkeeper probably has one of the best horror movie settings ever, in my opinion. It takes place in an isolated old lodge (Deer Lodge, an actual functioning resort)amid the snowy Canadian Rockies, surrounded by huge snow-covered mountains and towering evergreen trees. The outdoor scenes alone make the film worth seeing. Once we get inside the lodge, we start running into some lighting issues. In some cases, the overly dark scenes are effective, especially when all you can really see are the character's piercing eyes. Also effective are the shots of the wendigo's basement enclosure, which is made out of blocks of ice, emitting an eerie blue light. Very cool. I also thought Paul Zaza's score worked well for the film. In particular, there is a strange synthesizer part that sounds like distorted wind or maybe a train...whatever it is, it's spooky as hell. The acting, unfortunately, is mediocre with the notable exception of Georgie Collins, who plays the "ghostkeeper". Her performance, especially in her last scene, is really disturbing and frightening. I recommend Ghostkeeper to any serious horror fan who likes creepy, atmospheric films.

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12 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Pretty creepy and atmospheric.

8/10
Author: HumanoidOfFlesh from Chyby, Poland
27 July 2002

On a wintery New Year's Eve two women(Jenny and Chrissy)and one man(Marty)embark on a short snowmobile excursion.When the snowmobile breaks down,they are forced to seek refuge in a deserted hotel.There they confront powerful evil forces."Ghostkeeper" is a pretty creepy and atmospheric horror film which will keep you guessing until the end.The acting is solid and the atmosphere of fear and total isolation is well-captured.The locations sets(snowy mountains and a mansion in the middle of nowhere)provide some chills.Check it out if you are a horror fan.8 out of 10.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Sadly unknown, spooky little gem.

10/10
Author: larsenjanda from United States
24 March 2007

I saw this film at a rather young age when I rented it from a video store, and it really, really scared me. "Ghostkeeper" is about three friends (two women and one man) who are snowmobiling during the holidays up in the mountains. Despite a storekeepers warning, they head up the slopes, only to have one of the women crash her snowmobile. With only one snowmobile left for transportation, and a snowstorm coming in, the three decide to stay in an old abandoned hotel lodge looming in front of them. They meet an old lady (played by Georgie Collins, who actually gives a really scary performance) who is living there with her unseen son, but she is hiding a ghostly secret.

Definitely one of the better '80s horror films, this unknown little chiller should be a familiar entry in the genre, but sadly is seen by hardly anybody. It didn't receive a big release and got little attention, which is really too bad because of how good the film is. The storyline actually original, and the setting is, in one word - CREEPY! The isolated lodge and the snowy mountain backdrop are a nice accent to the film and really add to it's scariness, and are a little reminiscent of "The Shining". The acting is mediocre, but so what? It's an '80s horror flick, you can't expect Oscar-worthy performances. The strange ending will leave you creeped out but also satisfied. I love this film because of it's simple set-up and foreboding spookiness. Surely an underrated little horror gem. If you can get a hold of it (since it's now pretty hard to find, only being available on a long out-of-print video tape), definitely do. It's one of the better (and overlooked) early '80s horrors. 10/10.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Good setting, bad plot

4/10
Author: Tikkin from United Kingdom
15 June 2006

Ghostkeeper is not as good as others would have you believe. It does have a beautiful and creepy setting, and the film itself is rather creepy, but in a rather fake way. This is achieved mainly through the use of music, and whilst this is effective for the first 30 minutes or so, you get a bit sick of hearing the same music over and over.

I think this film could have been a whole lot better. You can see the potential whilst watching it, and within the first 30 minutes I had figured out several ways it could have been better. The plot is where everything falls apart. It's really about nothing much at all. The ending is a bit of a surprise, but is so shallow that you think "jeez, that's what this film has been building up to?" Despite the excellent setting, I can't really recommend Ghostkeeper. It's like a very poor mans version of The Shining. If slow pace, creepy atmosphere yet lack of plot is your thing, you may enjoy this, but otherwise I would skip it.

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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

under-recognized little horror outing.

Author: EyeAskance from fabulous Las Vega$!
15 July 2003

Poorly distributed(or unreleased) when the horror-film market was predominantly angled toward the slasher element, this low-key B effort is not bad at all, and should probably be reevaluated by genre fans.

A trio of young snowmobilers face mechanical problems deep in the forest, and happen upon a decrepit, isolated hunting lodge. Initially, they believe the place to be abandoned, but eventually find it inhabited by a strange old lady and her son...as well as their "pet" Wendigo(a spirit of Native American lore, ever hungry for human flesh).

While there's not a lot of meat on the bones of this story, a subtle, lurking eeriness makes up heartily for that fact. And while the production values are a step below par, GHOSTKEEPER methodically maintains the slow and steady momentum of a dying heartbeat, punctuated by it's lonely, foreboding atmosphere. All in all, a small-scale achievement which generally delivers.

6/10...recommended.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

OK, but not worth looking too hard for

Author: lazarillo from Denver, Colorado and Santiago, Chile
26 February 2008

A bickering young couple and their sexy female friend are snowmobiling in the (Canadian?) wilderness when they run across an old hotel where they are forced to seek shelter from a sudden winter storm. At first the hotel seems to deserted, but then they run into a strange old woman who claims to be the caretaker and alludes to a having couple of "kids" "around somewhere". As night falls one of the girls disappears and the remaining pair realizes all is not as it seems in the hotel. This movie can be easily written-off as a cheap, Canadian rip-off of "The Shining", but that's not entirely fair--it also rips-off other movies like "The Sentinel" pretty severely. And it tries, very ham-handedly, to mine the native Canadian legend of the wendigo (spelled "windigo here for some reason).

This movie has very little going for it. The plot is pretty dumb and derivative. The dialogue is generally clunky (except maybe for a funny scene where the sexy blonde friend tells a story about seducing a substitute teacher when she was in high school). The characters range from bland to genuinely dislikeable (especially the guy). The girls both look good in their snowsuits but have no nude scenes, which doesn't have to be a deal-breaker except that the movie has one of those famous non-nude bathtub scenes just to kind of rub in the actual dearth of real skin. The one good thing I can say about this movie is that it does have a pretty effective atmosphere. The gloomy, snowbound hotel is eerie and portentous, even if there is no real payoff to justify all the eerie portentiousness.

This movie was made in the early 80's when the American horror film industry was starting to go south (figuratively), and the Canadian film industry, encourage by friendly tax laws, started to go south (literally). This movie is a little more ambitious than most of the Canadian tax shelter projects in that it wasn't content to be just another "Halloween" slasher movie knock-off. It kind of reminded me of "Death Ship", so if you liked that. . . It's hard to find to find these days though and probably not worth looking too hard for.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Hmmm?

3/10
Author: SayMyNameBitches from Iceland
16 July 2009

I simply don't know what this movie is about because there is hardly any story in this film, even at the very end of it you don't have a single clue what was going on there.

the little that What i found out that its about three three teenagers on a trip on a mountain they get stranded right in front of an abandoned hotel (what are the odds?) that turns out that there's an old woman who lives there with her son, and they learn that there's some mysterious secret hidden in basement, and after we see whats hidden in the basement the movie starts to make no sense whats so ever.

maybe there are some people out there who can understand the plot but i don't and i really don't wanna find out what its about.

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4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

The Chilling: Force of Dementia

6/10
Author: (Vomitron_G) from the Doomed Megalopolis of Blasphemous Technoids
30 August 2009

***Only the 3rd & 4th paragraph contain spoilers***

I had read up a little bit on "Ghostkeeper" before I decided to get me a copy and watch it. Since up until now I hadn't really seen a movie about the Wendigo legend that actually worked like it should, I was pretty interested in seeing another take on it. Furthermore, the comment-section for this film on here, is a bit peculiar, to say the least. Not too many people seem to have seen it, and in addition to that, there seems to be hardly any gray area. Some people praise it too high heaven, while others bash it to hell. I'd like to enter that gray area.

While I'm not ignorant to the movie's flaws – because it does have its fair share of those – I would prefer to focus on its merits rather than to enlarge its shortcomings. I won't go too deep into the story and its characters, as enough of it can be read in schwarhol628's comment. Onto the things this movie has going for it. First off, the desolate, snowy Canadian mountain region provides a wonderful backdrop and adds to the bleak and hopeless tone of the film. Secondly, the musical score by Paul Zaza works wonders. Not only is it effectively eerie, it also helps to support a lot of scenes without dialogues (and there are quite a few of those). On more than one occasion you'll find yourself watching someone just walking through the dark corridors of the hotel with not much else happening. Take away the musical score, and indeed, you'll have a sequence with a whole lot of nothing going on. But the score brings a deep sense of dread and creepiness that fills up the hotel as if it was a dark, malevolent entity itself. This brings us, thirdly, by the hotel – or inn - which really feels like a forsaken place and it brings a similar presence to the film as the Overlook Hotel did for "The Shining". On a smaller scale, of course, yet also a darker one. Because this hotel, at times, really seems engulfed by darkness.

Then we have what this film's story is actually about: The myth of the Wendigo. Now when it comes to that, I felt it had a distinctive ambiguity to it. Not noticeable on the surface at first, but it becomes more and more palpable as the events progress. I've seen the Wendigo depicted as a creature already in films, but here things are a little different, drawing more influences from the spiritual aspects of the myth. An over-powering evil dichotomously divided into the earthly and the supernatural. The hotel is inhabited by a mysterious old woman – undeniably Georgie Collins gives us the best and most enjoyable performance of the whole cast – who comes across as the caretaker of the hotel, but actually is the titular Ghostkeeper. Now the title of this film, confirms how this film handles the Wendigo myth. Partly, the Wendigo is portrayed as a "beast", more specifically a ghoul-like being with cannibalistic tendencies, living a locked-up life in the basement (nourished with human flesh provided by the old woman and her "other boy"). On the other part, the Wendigo seems more like a presence or a force, filling this isolated location with evil, driving everybody who draws near the place slowly to insanity.

Now this last aspect, is also played out ambiguously. The old woman (as the Ghostkeeper under the influence of its evil) refers to Jenny as the strongest person of our trio, strong from the inside. While in reality, Jenny is the most feeble-minded of the bunch, which makes her the perfect victim for the Wendigo to get a hold of, to turn her into the new keeper. It's only gradually that the plot plays it out like this, as first everyone else either dies or slowly goes insane. Now as to the execution of this malevolent plot device, "Ghostkeeper" misses depth. And this is – aside from the obvious pacing problems – a major flaw. Instead of focusing more on the psychological downfall of the characters – admittedly, the cast of three would probably not have been able to handle this, as we're not dealing with stellar performers here – the script kills off Chrissy (the blond girl) soon enough, only to re-introduce the friendly old store-clerk from the opening scene, serving no other purpose than to also end up as food for the ghoul in the cellar. The only one left with hunger, is the viewer himself, as the script offers us little else to chew on.

Looking at "Ghostkeeper" from a glass-half-full point of view, you might be able to put all the film's flaws aside and discover a chilling tale of supernatural mystery driven by an eerie atmosphere. If not, it might remain merely a strangely compelling void of nothingness. And worst case scenario: Perhaps it could put you to sleep. Such a shame.

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3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

All work and no play make Wendigo a dull beast…

3/10
Author: Coventry from the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls
6 September 2009

"Ghostkeeper" could be promoted as "The Shining for dummies", actually. For all those who didn't understand or didn't care for the psychological horror aspect of "The Shining", this is pretty much the exact same film, except that there's an actual monster in the basement of the remote snowy forest resort and you don't have to bother about any psychological mumbo-jumbo. I heard and read from several people, whose opinions are always highly valued, that "Ghostkeeper" was more or less a hidden gem of early 80's horror; a film with a reasonably solid plot and a continuously sinister atmosphere. It's one of the few times that I really don't agree with them, because all I saw was a dull, derivative, unmemorable, dark and even slightly pretentious film that nearly bored me to sleep. This Canadian low-budgeter shamelessly imitates the secluded setting and mysterious ambiance building of Stanley Kubrick's previous year's blockbuster, but attempts to interweave with the famous Indian myth of the Wendigo – a cannibalistic spirit constantly craving for flesh – and a sub plot about an estranged elderly woman living, with her sons, far away from civilization. A young couple and their luscious blond friend, three insufferably annoying people that clearly deserve painful deaths from as soon as they open their mouths to talk, are surprised by an upcoming winter storm during the snow-scooter trip on new year's eve. They seek shelter in a seemingly abandoned hotel, only to discover the place is inhabited by a crazy old woman, her maniacal son and a "thing" in the basement that turns out to be Wendigo in chains. The blond bimbo is the first to fall victim, which is logical after her extended monologue story about how she lured her 10th grade teacher into sex for money, but the hotel seems to have other plans for the quiet introvert girl Jenny. Seeing there are only three protagonists in this film, it takes an unbearably long time before something significant happens in "Ghostkeeper". The locations and scenery are very nice, and I definitely do appreciate a film that attempts to build up suspense, but this film is just plain boring. Apart from the insufferable characters (Jenny is exaggeratedly frigid and the other two are stereotypical horror lambs to the slaughter), the film completely lacks gore and excitement and it's often too damn dark to determine what's going on. The Wendigo myth is poorly elaborated. The soundtrack and atmosphere are okay, as said, but these minor positive aspects hardly make the film a hidden gem. The film is obscure enough for you to never come across it. Don't look for it, either.

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