This wretched year has finally come to an end and although WM crew wasn’t very active during it’s course (we were forced to get real jobs due to lack of donations), we felt we should celebrate upcoming new year our style with this Canadian gem. And no, in case you already heard of it, this isn’t underrated as many people would say it is. In fact, looking at IMDB rating we would say it is greatly overrated.

We have a young couple Jenny (played by Riva Spier) and Marty (played by Murray Ord) on holiday in some snowy mountain region of Canada, accompanied by a sluttish friend of theirs Chrissy (played by Sheri McFadden) who has the hots for the man. One day they are out on their jet-skis when suddenly their machines pack out!! Oh no!! Luckily for them, there’s a long abandoned old hotel nearby, presided over by a mad Native old bat (played by Georgie Collins) with two sons. There’s one can of food in the entire place, but the group sings songs by the fire and makes the best of the situation they’re in, all the while wondering if people from their own lodge were out looking for them. Something isn’t right with the old lady and her son is never around, either. There go the plans for the party. Soon enough, Chrissie goes missing (of course, we know she’s had a little accident with someone’s blade and her delicate throat in the scene that resembles the popular shower scene from Psycho) and the one working snowmobile has been tampered with. With waist-high snow, a pounding blizzard and no transportation, Marty and Jenny are stuck in the place. Now the party can begin.

It is quite obvious that director Jim Makichuk was attempting to make his own cash-in of The Shining. The problem is that, apart from creeby scenery and music by Paul Zaza (Prom Night, Curtains) he didn’t have any actual plot here. Anyway, as strange things begin to happen, Jenny stumbles upon a book of Native legends and reads about the “windigo”, a giant spirit of the North that feasts on human flesh and the keeper that makes sure it’s fed because of an ancient power. In that moment old lady’s son starts chasing her and ends up impaled on a fence, cheerfuly swinging on it as a gentle breeze and blizzard are moving his body back and forth.

Seeing corpse on a fence Marty completely loses his mind (you might say he is as mad as a blizzard) and starts accusing Jenny of murdering Chrissy and the other guy. He decides then to take a stroll alone through woods. Meanwhile, back at the hotel, local storekeeper (played by Les Kimber) arrives just in time for his own death. You guess it, old lady butchers him. Jenny is back at the hotel too. She finds a shotgun and confronts old lady. In a heartbraking plot twist it turns out that old bat is Jenny’s long lost mother and had been taking care of Windigo (who is also her son). Jenny shoots her and apparently gets possessed by old lady’s madness. Jenny finds Windigo locked away in some basement room and promises she is going to take care of him from now on. She takes over the hotel as the new Ghostkeeper. Oh right, and Marty sits somewhere in woods frozen to death.

Conclusion: Taking its premise from the North American Indian legend of the Wendigo (or “Windigo,” as Ghostkeeper spells it), a Northwoods-dwelling, flesh-eating monster that is one of the country’s only mythical beasts, the film promises a uniquely nationalistic creature feature, but never quite unfolds that way, eventually getting lost in the snowy wilderness itself. There’s a few problems with the pacing as the characters walk around too much and make several boneheaded mistakes. It’s not so bad until it all unravels and you realize that you’re in for a dumb twist and a hairy guy in a cellar who effectively does nothing. Given its potential for creating a distinctive Canadian horror film, it’s hard to classify Ghostkeeper as anything but a spectacular failure.

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