Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The Banshee Chapter Review

Review by Randomflashbang
The Banshee Chapter is a 2013 independent film and the directorial debut of Blair Erickson.

I first watched this movie about four years ago at around 1 in the morning, clicking the square on my tv because the name was kooky, and sleep is for failure. And, throughout the entire film, I kept telling myself that this was complete low budget trash, that I’m barely keeping my eyes open and there was a warm bed in the next room. But I was stuck. Banshee Chapter had me hooked in it’s hypnotic and weird modern pulp science horror gaze.

On the surface. Banshee Chapter doesn’t really do anything new, but it effectively combines a lot of common ideas and tropes that swirl around our collective horror landscape that in a way I’m not sure I’ve seen before.

  • Intrepid female investigative journalist with a missing friend and some weird video tape!
  • Gobs of monitors and more found footage!
  • MK Ultra!
  • Drugs!
  • Maybe Zombies?
  • Numbers Stations!
  • The Desert Science Bunker!
  • H.P. Lovecraft!
  • Hunter S. Thompson?

    Yes, it saves all of its monster make up budget on shadowy jump-scares straight out of a drive through haunted house, But, the way it stirs around all those ideas into a downright insidious conclusion. And the naked humanity expressed by the two characters as they deal with mind-blowing weirdness all around them really let me ignore the fact that special effects guy called out that day and the movie tone can’t decide if it’s found footage, a fake documentary or a traditionally told film. Or maybe that actaully helps? Confused identity and handheld cameras just creating more intimate feelings with this woman that spends 70 minutes equally on the verge of discovery and absolute panic. I’m into it, and I’m curious to know more, but I’m also glad it stopped when it did.

    Blair Erikson doesn’t seem to have made anything since Banshee Chapter came out. Which is a real pity since the man seems to be able to polish a lot out of a little, but maybe, like his characters he just got too close something he didn’t want to let out. Or, Hollywood just burns people. One of those. Best of luck to him, though and props for creating the first film converted to Oculus Rift.
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