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Banshee Chapter (2013)


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Starring: Ted Levine, Katia Winter , Andrew McMillian

Running time: 87mins.

Directed By: Blair Erickson

I’d seen a trailer for this film on YouTube, a link on the sidebar amongst the usual bland terrible horror movies released over the last few years, but by clicking on it and viewing the premise, I had to watch it. Starring Ted Levine (Silence of the lambs), Katia Winter (Sleepy Hollow TV series) and Andrew McMillian (True Blood) I had an idea with the quality of cast that it would be worth seeing. Based on H.P Lovecraft, From Beyond and using the found footage motif this is not a movie that disappoints.

The premise of the movie has James (McMillian) a young man investigating Project MKUltra, a government sponsored program that exists to test different mind altering drugs on human guinea pigs. He gets hold of the experimental drug and on camera ingests the highly illegal stuff and then after some sort of episode and outside interference disappears. His close friend and reporter Anna (Winter) decides to investigate her good friend’s disappearance which takes her on a dark road of lies and sinister goings on.

Found footage movies are all the rage currently in Hollywood but this one draws upon it as a tool which builds towards the end game. I found myself more than once jumping and tensely awaiting the next step in Anna’s journey in her search for James and the truth of just what is going on and what happened to him. This is a tale of discovery, as Anna investigates a web of truth and fiction piecing together the mystery of James’s disappearance.

Zachary Quinto (Spock in the new Star Trek movies) is a producer on this film, and even though it was shot in just one short month it packs a punch. Ted Levine was the first man cast in the film and his character Thomas Blackburn adds levity to the movie that is needed at times when the dark creatures in the night are closing in on our leading duo, as he plays a Hunter S. Thompson inspired personality who has connections of his own to James’s disappearance. 

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The movie is spliced with footage from the government experiments that took place for years before James found the chemical and it reveals some of the disturbing depths the scientists went to for the better of mankind, and treating us to some horrific imagery and sequences using lighting to the maximum effect. This is Blair Erickson’s directorial debut, and it’s a good one providing plenty of scares along the way on Anna’s quest to find her friend. Winter really leads the line well as the leading lady and having only seen her previously in small roles (Sleepy Hollow, Dexter) I look forward to seeing more from this talented woman.

I didn’t have many dislikes about this movie, but one was Levine’s famous voice, he speaks gutturally at times and mumbles, (especially during scenes where he is drinking/on drugs) and makes it quite difficult to make out the important information he shares with Anna. Another would be film length, which really is a sign of just how much I enjoyed this suspenseful horror. I’ve tried to avoid as much spoilers as possible with this film, but I highly recommend checking it out, turning off the lights and letting the characters take you on their journey.

What I liked: Mystery, flashback government trials, not knowing what was next, Use of light and dark to scare, jumpscares.

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What I didn’t like? : Ted Levine mumbling, shaky camera at times, short movie time.

If you have an opinion on the movie or my review, feel free to comment below!

Al’s rating: 7.5/10