Journalist Anne Roland explores the disturbing links behind her friend’s sudden disappearance, an ominous government research chemical, and a disturbing radio broadcast of unknown origin.
Part Science Fiction film / Part Horror film, Banshee Chapter mixes the stomach-churning horror of H.P Lovecraft with the real life story of the government experiment Project MKUltra. If that doesn’t whet your appetite, I don’t know what will.
The film is the film debut of writer/director Blair Erickson and he handles it quite effectively, opting to give the film the ‘handheld’ look, which works in the film’s favor, while setting up the scares of the film so that they pay off rather well.
Yes, if it’s scares you’re after, Banshee Chapter has them in spades and they are all rather effectively executed. I will say that the film got me on more than one occasion and that the scares come out of meticulous attention to detail to the scene rather than the loud musical sting jump scared.
The story itself is quite well crafted, borrowing elements from Lovecraft’s story ‘From Beyond’ while managing to flesh out of a cast of characters that stand out and that you can care about, rather then feeling like they they’re just moving from point A to be without heart or purpose.
Katia Winter is Anne, the character searching for the holy grail of science experiments. Winter is likeable in the role and brings it to life and better than that, she is written with enough strength and heart that she becomes a strong female heroine, rather than falling into the trap of being the screaming lady that does a lot more wrong than right in the world of the story.
Ted Levine steals the show as author Thomas Blackburn, who plays an integral part to the story and the mythology of the world. More than that, Levine is clearly having a blast here as the alcoholic and eccentric writer. Whether he is there for to provide comedy in the film’s tensest moments or delivering an emotional performance, the man is a stand out.
Y’know, it’s a shame the release of Banshee Chapter was so low-key because the film is rather effective, in both the science fiction department and the horror department. More than that, the story is a cracker, moving from terrific set piece to terrific set piece while managing to balance character and story without neglecting one or the other.
Luckily for everyone, Banshee Chapter is available to view on Netflix and should be available on most VOD platforms and should definitely be given a look.
J’s Verdict: ☆ ☆ ☆