Review: ‘Banshee Chapter’

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Banshee Chapter is a gritty Horror/Sci-Fi that uses “Found Footage” elements, as well as straight-ahead filmmaking and actual historical recordings.  The result: A realistic, scary as hell experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat—and leave your mind reeling.

Haters and know-it-alls will complain that Banshee Chapter is basically a retelling of From Beyond (the story by H.P. Lovecraft and the movie based on the story).  But while the source material may be reused, writer/director Blair Erickson’s unique elements and distinctive approach to storytelling makes for a fresh and exciting flick.  It’s also worth noting that Erikson used actual declassified CIA documents as a jumping off point for Banshee Chapter.

Read my review after the jump.

 Official Synopsis:  Banshee Chapter centers on a young, female journalist who finds herself drawn into the dangerous world of top-secret government chemical research and the mystery of a disturbing radio signal of unknown origin. A fast-paced thriller blending fact and fiction, Banshee Chapter is based on real documents, actual test subject testimony, and uncovered secrets about covert programs run by the CIA.

Banshee Chapter is a conspiracy theorists’ wet-dream; a smart yet paranoid exploration of human exploitation and experimentation.  I couldn’t help but reminisce on the best aspects of The X Files and Fringe.  References to MK ULTRA, a real covert CIA operation started in the 1930’s (almost synonymous with Area 51), taps into some of America’s darkest and most enduring mythologies.  Banshee Chapter also seeks to expose some of the Government’s most shameful secrets.

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While clearly filmed on a shoestring, Banshee Chapter delivers more genuine thrills than most mainstream Horror offerings with multi-million dollar FX budgets.  A white face with black eyes and a distorted smile hits like a gut punch.  A mere shadow at the end of a hallway sends hearts racing.  Even the soundscape of the “phantom signals” on a shortwave radio is utterly unnerving.

The most terrifying moment of the entire film isn’t an event, but a line of dialog: “They want to wear us.”

Leads Katia Winter and Ted Levin have awesome chemistry and are a huge part of Banshee Chapter’s success.  She plays Anne, a young up-and-coming reality journalist and he plays Thomas Blackburn, an old Hunter S. Thompson clone down to the dark glasses and jogging shorts.  This odd-couple is the driving force of the film and their dialoged, both smart and at times humorous, is gold.

Banshee Chapter will especially appeal to those with an interest in psychedelic exploration and the drug DMT.  The concept of interdimensional communication with otherworldly entities is also explored at length.  Fear is induced by the suggestion of a “bad trip” that never ends.  Those who open Pandora’s Box of Metaphysics may wish they hadn’t.  Insanity, loss of identity, and even physical possession are all potential consequences faced by characters in Banshee Chapter.

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The film’s conclusion delivers top-notch intensity and a pair of shocking twists.  Aficionados looking for an intelligent and terrifying experience need to look past the hideous DVD cover-art and give Banshee Chapter a spin.  Banshee Chapter is a film of rare depth that could definitely benefit from a well-written prequel.

4 out of 5 Skull Heads.

Trailer: HERE

Directed by Blair Erickson
Produced by Zachary Quinto
Screenplay by Blair Erickson
Story by Daniel J. Healy
Based on “From Beyond”
by H. P. Lovecraft
Starring Ted LevineKatia Winter,Michael McMillian
Music by Andreas Weidinger
Cinematography Jeremy Obertone
Editing by Jacques Gravett
Studio Sunchaser Entertainment, Before The Door Pictures, Favorit Film
Distributed by XLrator Media (US)[1]Intense Distribution & 101 Films (UK)
Release dates
  • August 22, 2013(Fantasy Filmfest)
  • December 12, 2013(United States)

 

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About Saucy Josh

I write a blog for intelligent Horror movie aficionados called Blood and Guts for Grown Ups: https://bloodandgutsforgrownups.wordpress.com/ View all posts by Saucy Josh

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