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|Index||54 reviews in total|
I just finished watching this film at the After Dark Film Festival in
I was impressed. It has a genuinely creepy atmosphere and well-earned jump scares that had me leaping out of my seat a few times.
The film is an effective mix of traditional filmmaking,'found footage', and even actual documentary footage and news reels. This melding of fiction with 'faux-real' footage and factual footage was perfect given the subject matter (which revolves around the real-life MKUltra 'mind control experiments' conducted by the CIA during the Cold War). The film also cleverly mixes in the genuinely creepy lore of shortwave 'numbers stations', resulting in a calling card for the film's villain which is flat-out *beep* scary.
Speaking of the 'villain', I don't want to give away too much, but I wanted to congratulate the director for creating a 'Big Bad' that is unnervingly ambiguous and 'unknowable', both in terms of motivation and appearance.
The performances are solid, and I particularly enjoyed the Hunter S. Thompson-esque character for the humour he brought to the proceedings.
Tonally, this movie reminded me of the Mothman Prophecies and a lot of the better 'Creepypasta' stories from the internet. I give this a big thumbs up :)
Just watched this and was pleasantly surprised. Especially after seeing
the IMDb page and checking out the HORRIBLE poster and low rating.
Essentially a tale about government chemical mind control experiments, with a mix of a scary shortwave radio transmission and some super cool Lovecraftian elements a la From Beyond, it is done in a scary manner, with a mix of found footage, real and faked news clips, and sometimes just plain old standard filmed storytelling.
The flashlight, a common horror cliché, is also used to great effect here. I can see some people not liking this one and it being a polarizing movie but I enjoyed it very much. It also boasts a great performance by Ted Levine, who freaked us out as Rusty Nail in "Joyride." This is the first scary movie I've seen in a while. The last thing I can say is it's a mix of originality, cliché, and "borrowing", but what movie today isn't?
I really wanted to like this film. But there was so many things being thrown in the mix it's was just too much to take. Number stations, mk ultra, drugs, government conspiracies, and a barrage of scenes which never really give the viewer time to build up to a feeling of dread. They're just delivered to you in a quick fire fashion and even the "face at the window" shots are so quick you can't define them sometimes. I have to say I liked the Ted Levine character Blackburn as he played it with gusto right to the end. But apart from the outlandish story there are many plot holes and the ending just wasn't that satisfying for me. Still, I respect any new director trying something a little different.
I'm not a fan of jump scares. I think they're cheap, sometimes
manipulative, and they rarely imbue dread. Rather, they can ruin a
movie's atmosphere if used incorrectly. Having said that, The Banshee
Chapter has the best use of jump scares I've seen in a long, long time.
You can sense them coming from a mile away, yet they can still make you
crap your pants. I credit this to the director who clearly has a grasp
on how to utilize atmosphere and build-ups effectively. These scares
don't seem cheap; well, some of them do, but the tone is set by the
creepy music, the static, and the robotic voices which really holds the
movie together. And the imagery itself is creepy. If I saw one of those
things near me, I would freak the f*** out too.
Now, you probably noticed by now that I haven't even hinted at a narrative in this movie, and that's because it's so flimsy it's hardly worth mentioning. It's basically about MK Ultra and the government testing drugs on people, then things start to go horribly wrong. The premise is good, but the actual story - the execution - is hollow and lazy. I didn't care what has happening half the time. I was too busy peeking through my eyes (kidding, but not really) waiting for the damn thing to come out from somewhere. Almost every scene is crafted this way - light on substance, heavy on scares.
Thankfully, horror is about the scares so I have to give The Banshee Chapter credit. Even though it stands for everything I hate in horror movies, this one actually gets it right, and for that alone, bravo.
I'd never heard of this film, (and only recognised two of the cast) but
found it while channel hopping last night.
The blurb sounded promising so I thought I'd give it a go and I was glad I did.
The film felt very "indie", a simple (if somewhat odd) idea nicely executed. Other reviews have described it as "Lovecraftian", and that description works well (there is even mention of Lovecraft at one point).
The mood is one of hidden lurking menace, never fully seen, only glimpsed. There were several excellent "jump out of your seat" scares, but even those were tastefully done. The acting is low key and the roles well cast.
I'm not going to say much more as I'd love people to discover this underrated little gem for themselves.
"The Banshee Chapter" is a blend of found footage, and tradition
filming styles that create a smooth, creepy visual horror story. The
film is directed by Blair Erickson and stars Katia Winter, Ted Levine,
Michael McMillian, Jenny Gabrielle, William Sterchi, Alex Gianopoulos
in mad science tale that is part urban legend, part Lovecraftian,
centering around a journalist seeking answers to the disappearance of
her college friend after an experiment goes terribly wrong.
The story in "The Banshee Chapter" creates an almost instantly captivating tale around urban legends that arose after it was made public of the black ops experiments the Government implemented on citizens during the 60's and 70's using LSD. That is a conspiracy lore ideology that I find myself trolling the internet reading. This element weaves eerily effortlessly into the Lovecraft world of horror, particularly the story surrounding the scientist that creates an antenna that becomes a gateway between worlds ultimately allowing both sides to move between. "The Banshee Chapter" pushes out a dark, nightmare that stays serious, flows nicely, and maintains a chilling atmosphere from start to finish without becoming boring.
The acting in this film is pretty stellar, not too melodramatic or forced but so polished that it just seems over-rehearsed. The transitions between the found footage scenes and the standard third person point-of-view are balanced and move smoothly without the effects being made into some big production. By which I mean the scenes move in and out without seeming pointless or just "stuck in" the film with no purpose other than to cash in on the "footage" craze. "The Banshee Chapter" takes the two styles and mixes them with ease which makes the film suspenseful and chilling. The direction and character development felt authentic and created an actual connection between me and the story, something that often times falls to the wayside in "found footage" driven films.
The special effects and soundtrack in "The Banshee Chapter" both work nicely in creating a chilling, and entertaining atmosphere with moments that are gripping, and intense while feeling creepy as heck. The special effects are the usual gimmicks and tricks to create shock moments and suspense but the director maintains control of the elements so nothing looks cheap or pointless, or more importantly lacking in fright. I jumped several times while watching this movie. The soundtrack and sound effects create an overture to the creepy atmosphere that the acting and story develops, really pulling me into the complete story. Mostly instrumental with some vocal effects, the soundtrack is both timeless and powerful. "The Banshee Chapter" is a fun, fright-filled, horror story that I found to be true to the genre without seeming hokey.
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.
This film has some good things going for it. With using MK-ULTRA as the background, they are able to blend fact and fiction, and certainly horror stories resulting from government experiments exist. This was a clever idea, even if not always done to its full potential.
There is also a very clear reference to Hunter S. Thompson, and that will make lots of people smile. Perhaps actually making the character Thompson and having this re-imagined as a bizarre pseudo-historical film might have helped.
The Banshee Chapter is a decent horror flick with a lot of potential that unfortunately fails to deliver on most counts. The film starts really well, but sadly doesn't manage to keep up with its early promise. It does have a few genuinely nail biting moments in it however, which make it well worth a watch. I would recommend approaching this film in the knowledge that it is a highly flawed yet enjoyable hour and a half, so that you aren't disappointed and can enjoy the film for what it is; A relatively well- made chiller with some very good ideas, executed clumsily. I feel that with a tightening of the plot and a better lead actress, there could have been a really excellent film here. Still, The Banshee Chapter is much better than the majority of horror films out there, and definitely worth viewing at least once if you're in the mood for a fright.
I definitely wasn't prepared for how terrifying I found this film, from start to finish. I found the switch from the journalists personal footage type to the CIA 'found footage' incredibly effective at sending my heart rate through the roof in a Pavlovian conditioning type response ha ha, and the film holds out that little bit extra to build suspense like no film I've watched in a while! I think horror fans have to watch a lot of substandard films to find the gems that really deliver those jump out your chair screaming moments and for me this was one of them!! Left me feeling so on edge I made my boyfriend come into the bathroom with me and then screamed when I saw his reflection in the mirror. Do not watch alone! Yes, the storyline is a little too multi-directional at times but this doesn't detract from the scares all. If you're looking for something to get your adrenal glands going, this is the one!
I have never really been a fan of either Documentary or especially
Found Footage Horror. But, the way this one builds the tension and
suspense, it does the job just fine. I'm probably just a BIG P\/$$y,
but quite honestly this scared the living $h!t right out of me into my
pants (probably more information than you wanted...)
Anyway, despite my usual antipathy for these kinds of films, once in a while one will come along that is very effective, and this is one of them. Coincidentally, I also recently watched a similar film called 'THE ATTICUS INSTITUTE' which also scared me $h!tless, but that one was much more heavily slanted toward the Paranormal than this one was.
So, there really is not a whole lot to say about his particular Genre except whether it is done well or not. And, I can say that for me personally, I was absolutely RIVETED to the screen the entire time. There was NO down time on this one. And YES, there are numerous jump type scares, but with this kind of film, I think that it would be obvious that that comes with the territory. The point is whether the jump scares are done well, and they are indeed...
My imagination is VERY sensitive, so maybe this film would be more intense for me than for others, I don't know. All I know is that by the end, I was frigg'n creeped out. So, what that means to me is that the primary elements that are vital to a film like this, namely the mood and atmosphere, are clearly effective and doing the good job that they are supposed to be doing. Like I said, this type of film is not my first choice. I tend to find the more Fantasy based, 'fun' type of Horror more enjoyable (like 'NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET' or 'RE- ANIMATOR', for example) But, this one seriously had me by the nuts and refused to let go...
I would say that if you don't mind the Genre, and if have an active imagination like I do, and if you can REALLY get sucked into a story easily like I did with this one, then this movie should indeed scare you...
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