The Banshee Chapter

"OK"

The Banshee Chapter Review


More unsettling than actually scary, this slow-burning horror movie is directed and acted with style even though the script feels rather under-developed. There's enough intrigue to hold our interest, even though the plot is laced with lapses of logic and ill-defined situations. So what keeps us watching is the hope that something might eventually make sense. And along the way the gimmicky filmmaking finds ways to send chills down our spine.

The title is never quite defined; it has something to do with Native Americans and an illicit government drug-testing programme in the 1960s. And things kick off in the present day when James (McMillian) tries one of these experimental mind-altering drugs and then promptly disappears. So his British journalist friend Anne (Winter) starts looking for him, learning that the drug is an extract from dead bodies. While monitoring suspicious radio signals in the desert, she tracks down counterculture novelist Blackburn (Levine), who has been experimenting with the same drug with his girlfriend Callie (Gabrielle). And the deeper they look the stranger things get.

Most of the film is set up as a fake investigative documentary, as Anne follows the story down into a surreal rabbit hole. Mixed in with this are real archive TV clips and old footage about US government experiments on unwitting subjects, plus videotapes that seem to show the hallucinations the patients are having, which makes us wonder if something supernatural and freaky might be going on here.

All of this is assembled in a slick, pacey style that makes the most of the New Mexico locations and a cast that dives in fully to the increasingly insane series of events. It helps that the performances are naturalistic, because this grounds even the most ridiculous twists and turns of the plot, although the script's gaping holes and inconsistent characterisations continually throw us out of the story. And if we're watching closely enough, we realise that every frightening moment is the result of a cheap sound effect or editing jolt rather than the build-up of any actual suspense.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Horror/Suspense

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Blair Erickson

Producer: Sean Akers, Christian Arnold-Beutel, Corey Moosa, Stephanie Riggs

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.