Prisoners of the Ghostlands was a movie that I was aware of from the beginning of the year, when it premiered at Sundance. I didn’t know too much about it aside from basic premise. As soon as I saw that it was going to be put on Shudder, I knew that I would get to see it. I would advise you go into the movie knowing as little as possible.
Prisoners of the Ghostlands was directed by Sion Sono. It was written by Aaron Hendry and Reza Sixo Safai. From what I could find Sono has made several movies in Japan, which I have seen none of. I will work to remedy that so I can see how similar this movie was to his other films. The writers have more credits as actors than writers, Sixo Safai was in A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, I have previously covered.
The movie stars Nicolas Cage, Sofia Boutella, Bill Moseley, Tak Sakaguchi, Yuzuka Nakaya, and Nick Cassavetes. The movie was sold on the star power of the first three people listed. Nicolas Cage has kind of been on a roll with roles that genre fans have adored. This role isn’t quite like some of the roles he’s had recently, but it is fun. Tak Sakaguchi and Bill Moseley are fun when they’re on screen together, working as muscle and boss.
Prisoners of the Ghostlands follows a man only known as Hero as he is hired by The Governor of a place called Samurai Town. Hero is locked into a suit with explosives, one on each arm, one on each testicle, and two at the base of his neck. Hero has to travel into the titular Ghostlands to rescue Bernice, The Governor’s granddaughter.
The set and costume designers in this film knocked it out of the park. The set design throughout the movie is absolutely amazing. The same goes for the costume designers. They both do so much help world build organically. There’s an interesting use of both practical and CG effects. They’re both used to a fantastic effect. The music by Joseph Trapanese is fun. The score helps add to the weirdness and fun of the movie.
Prisoners of the Ghostland is a hell of a ride. I wouldn’t say that this would be a movie for everyone, but if you end up liking it you’ll have a lot of fun with it. You can see it on Shudder if you have a subscription. I give Prisoners of the Ghostlands 6.5 gumball machines out of 10.