Banshee Chapter (2013) Poster

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6/10
If nothing else, The Banshee Chapter proves that jump scares can still be... scary.
Andrew Gold1 November 2015
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.
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8/10
Tense and scary
victoryismineblast19 January 2014
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?
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3/10
The Banshee Chapter, or, I Don't Know What To Do With This Film Project, So I Will Just Do ALL Of The Things
MrDeadMan esq25 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This film is like a freshman in college: tons of awesome ideas and potential, but no clue what it wants to be when it grows up. Its a jumbled mess of cinematic styles, real life conspiracy theories and pop culture icons, like a B-movie equivalent of an X-Files knock off that tried to string all of these half cooked ideas together with thin exposition and a wanna-be M Knight Shamalaan ending.

The film starts itself as a found footage style horror film, more in the vein of the cryptic scenes from the Ring than in a linear story sort of fashion. the viewer does get the set up, however: DMT-19, this special concoction born of MKUltra, has been obtained by James, a documentary film maker who intends to take the drug and... I don't know... figure out the secret of MKUltra, I guess. A few jumbled cut scenes and a shoehorned jump scare later, we learn he disappears. The viewer is introduced to Anne (Katia Winter), the one time Friend-Zone trapping interest of James, who goes on an investigative journalistic journey to find out what happened to her college friend. She enlists the help of Thomas Blackburn (who is a thinly veiled caricature of Hunter Thompson, played by Ted Levine) the man who provided the DMT-19 to James, the missing friend.

the cinematography jumps around in "found footage" style, "shot like it should be found footage but the camera man probably just is mildly drunk or has Parkinsons", "poorly lit" and "normal". The plot tries to slide in references to an H.P. Lovecraft story as the explanation of the "they" who are coming to get "them", as told to us in Hunter S. Levine exposition. Really though, it's the slowest and worst way to abduct people and transport across dimensions for (what I can only imagine is) an invasion. I'd expect better from Lovecraft's "Old Ones".

What This Film Did Well:

The atmosphere in a few of the scenes lent itself to genuine tension and creepiness. Ted Levine still did a good job with a crappy, K-Mart model Hunter Thompson Character. the Creep Factor of the Number Station transmissions (Google The Conet Project)

What This Film Failed In Doing Well:

Characterization. Motivation. Cinematographic style consistency. Any sort of horror other than lame jump scares. A premise that made sense.

Overall:

Meh. the synopsis sounded cool, but it failed to deliver on anything more than a low budget, jump-scare attempt at horror with a vague knowledge of real-world phenomena, conspiracy theories, Lovecraft and Hunter Thompson. Watch it if you have nothing better to do, and by nothing better, I mean you are bed ridden and the remote is too far away to change the channel.

!!!BIG SPOILER BELOW!!!

OK, so the end of this movie shows us that Blackburn was one of the MKUltra guinea pigs who was electro-shocked into retrograde amnesia. It is further inferred since Anne did not take the substance, but was touched by Blackburn, that she is now a potential target by the Old Ones, just as James' partner was touched by James and also became a target, even though he did not take the drug. So if everyone Blackburn touched became a target, that means that these Old Ones have been snatching people since the 1960s and the drug itself was a means of trans-dimensional body snatching and those who were the Snatched murdered anyone they came in physical contact with... or made them a conduit for the Old Ones. If you don't follow, don't worry... it doesn't make sense.

Also, the subjects taking the DMT were mumbling the chemical composition of the DMT-19, passed as a message from the Old Ones so that the scientists could make this new compound and the Old Ones could use it as a means of conveyance to our dimension. So what attacked the subject who was only on DMT and not the DMT-19, a formula that had not yet been created?

Yet again ALSO, why did Anne not know what the chair in the experiment chamber was used for when Hunter... err... Thomas asked her about it? She saw the MKUltra video files. It literally showed her exactly what that chair was used for.

and still more ALSO, who put the Old One in the Iron Lung? and how did it build a radio transmitter from within the Iron Lung to act as a catalyst with the spook music? did people have to hear the spook music to get Snatched? and if that whole setup was the way the old ones Snatched people, the combination of the DMT-19 and the spook music, once Anne destroyed what I assume was the original Old One and the means of propagating the spook music, how did it project the spook music after it was destroyed?

You know what? Whatever. I'm done. This movie was dumb.
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9/10
A Genuinely Creepy Film With An Original Premise
derrickchow24 October 2013
I just finished watching this film at the After Dark Film Festival in Toronto.

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 :)
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An unexpected treat
andymclennan22 June 2014
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.
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9/10
My Review Of "The Banshee Chapter"
ASouthernHorrorFan22 May 2014
"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.
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5/10
Better next time?
Snaggletooth .13 December 2013
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.
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5/10
Good Idea, Maybe Not Perfectly Done
gavin694217 July 2014
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.
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2/10
Seeking Serious Fear & Loathing...NOT!
AudioFileZ9 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The Banshee Chapter plays like a group of lesser film school students put forward their best effort. This is to say one must park most expectations at the door not to worry about a bit of cheese here and some embarrassing moments pushing something that clearly overreaches any credibility which it certainly would benefit from.

As the film opens there is a montage of interviews with people involved with the real, and absolutely harrowing MK-Ultra experiments. These totally serious newsreels about something definitely factual built up expectations that this movie would quite simply betray. This was a miscue right off the bat and hurts the fictional film that follows as something much closer to real and less (ridiculously silly) paranormal was expected.

There was a silly segment about random electronic numbers just coming in like a radio transmission from a radio station in the ether. Some writer chick is on this stuff because a friend took some of the still available drug concoction from the MK-Ultra crap and died, or went up in smoke or something (I don't know or care). The last straw was at 22-minutes when the writers tried to introduce a character based on Hunter S. Thompson. You can't make silly stuff seem like it has a shred of credibility by bringing a character totally plagiarized. Maybe for some this is watchable, sadly for me is is so bad it isn't even laughable. The estate of Thompson should be contemplating their options as it sullies an image Hunter cultivated to be a certain kind of respectable in all of his anti-establishment glory (i.e. his brand of freedom versus everything).Over and out at 25-minutes. I give it 3 because the story is 0, but the effort deserves at least 2 or 3 and the actors do a respectable job with absolutely terrible characters.
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3/10
The Banshee... uhm, strike that... The Boring Chapter...
Paul Magne Haakonsen21 December 2013
Given the poster to this movie and the movie synopsis, I had initially expected something more from the movie. And I must admit that I found the movie to be rather slow-paced and anything but scary.

The story is about a journalist Anne Roland (played by Katia Winter) who is exploring the events revolving around a chemical experiment, where she is helped by the eccentric writer Thomas Blackburn (played by Ted Levine).

I found the storyline to be dull and rather uninteresting. And there were very little aspects of the story that had any real appeal to me. As such, then the movie turned out to be a rather big swing and a miss. There are far better horror and thriller movies available.

I will say that Ted Levine did a nice job in carrying the movie. But his performance wasn't sufficient enough to salvage this movie.

The movie is filmed with a documentary-like style camera-work. You know, those hand-held in the midst of everything kind of styles. Now, I don't enjoy this one bit. When I watch a movie, I want proper and steady camera-work, not something that I could have done myself with my own DV camera.

And the whole 'based on true events' aspect to the movie? Mmmm-hmmm, sure...

There was an interesting H. P. Lovecraft reference delivered by Ted Levine. And that was, for my case, the most interesting thing about this entire movie.

"The Banshee Chapter" might be suitable if you are a hardcore Ted Levine fan, but otherwise, there is nothing interesting to be had here.
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1/10
awful and inept amateurish film making
midnight_cinephile8 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The back story on this was that the writer/director of this "film" was chosen by the production company and given a budget because he was Carnegie-Mellon alumni.

So basically we have a very amateurish hackneyed film made by a trust fund/ivy hipster click and it really shows.

Let me start by saying I have done a huge amount of research on MKYLTRA/MKNAOMI and the CIA/ US government's "clandestine" drug testing programs.....so this is familiar ground for me. This in of itself is a very intriguing and fascinating topic that has been widely researched and documented.Furthermore I am a huge fan of Hunter S Thompson and H.P.Lovecraft,and finally have also researched and have working knowledge of what number stations are.

Please see the conet project for more info on numbers stations.

The writer/producer/director seemingly and sophomorically was naturally intrigued by the aforementioned "spook" elements and felt he needed to write a screenplay combing all of these interesting and dark cul-de-sacs of literature and black ops.

I understand the impetuous and the attraction to dark,arcane and esoteric subject matter.

What I don't understand is the execution.I felt as though my time was wasted and my intellect insulted by this film.There was no real thread tying any of these elements together, There was no attention to detail,script writing or storyline. It seems as though a bunch of film school wannabe's smoked some high grade kush and wrote a half baked screenplay based on what they thought was cool, "spooky" and "dark"

The end result is garbage.

Gaping plot holes,vapid character development,unbelievable character actions that defy the suspension of reality or belief that that any film maker has license to use....clichéd trope after hackneyed senseless cliché,poor special effects culminating with a scary guy in a monster suit and insect gloves enveloped in a weak soundtrack/sound design.

Next time hire a writer that knows his craft son.

This was such a waste of very fertile material,money,human effort and time and hard drive space.

I was really surprised to find out the production team for breaking bad was involved in this toilet clogger.I reckon their input most likely saved it from being totally un-watchable.

This is a Pathetic,abysmal and atrocious film for uninformed people that are clueless about numbers stations,Dr HST,MKULTRA/human drug experimentation by the CIA and H.P.Lovecraft.

I wanted this film to be good,I really and truly wanted it to succeed but instead I was angered and my intellect insulted.

Please watch Jacob's ladder for a REAL and ASS-KICKING film about MKULTRA and the effects of BZ gas on Vietnam vets.

Avoid Banshee chapter if you pride yourself a film buff who has a modicum of taste and standard in their horror/sci-fi viewings,as this is cheap half-assed schlock made by rich kids.
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3/10
mk Nultra
bob_meg2 February 2014
By now, most of us have heard about the government funded (or at least endorsed) MK-ULTRA project from the '60s and '70s, where US agencies ran experiments in mind control on unsuspecting volunteers. All true.

"Banshee Chapter" opens with a statement similar to this and then, in the next title card states: "The results were horrifying." Also true.

Now the question...does Banshee Chapter help flesh this thesis out and perhaps dig deeper into one of the (no doubt many) horrifying self-inflicted chapters in our national history? No, it doesn't. It veers immediately off into SciFi/Horror-land. Which is not such a bad thing...if the story, acting, and virtually all of the directing didn't suck. Which it does.

And THAT sucks because, judging from the first twenty minutes of Blair Erickson's feature debut, Erickson's got it going on. The first third of the film is intriguing plot-wise and there are some genuine jump-in-your-seat jump cuts.

But following the introduction of Ted Levine's character (a gonzo "radical" journalist obviously modeled on Hunter Thompson, minus the cigarette holder) the film falls inexplicably flat. The momentum runs out and the pacing is sluggish...there are too many scenes in the dark with Katia Winter and Levine yelling at each other and even the scares begin to wane: Erickson starts to repeat himself in an endless loop that almost makes you want to turn the film off by the third act.

As for Winter, I found her performance to be a bit too monotone and colorless, though to be honest Erickson really didn't flesh her (or her supposed love-interest, a 2 second plot point, that) character out well enough. We get enough of that background to care in the beginning, but then, it's as if the film is holding back for budgetary reasons. And what they wind up shooting is just same old same old.

For instance, the radio transmissions, which could have been really creepy if they had been staged with any flair, fall tone deaf. That saw is as old as "Close Encounters," but even there it was well done because --- at one time, Spielberg was a helluva filmmaker. And that was about flying saucers for god's sake!

It's not that I found the detour Banshee Chapter took that implausible or irritating --- certainly Erickson is not mandated to give us a docudrama about MKULTRA. But, come on dude...at least give us something that doesn't put us to freaking' sleep!
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8/10
Finally, a thrill
gbradley10214 December 2013
Thoroughly enjoyed this experience. After seeing so much of the same repeated, weak attempts at true fear lately, it's wonderful to see a film that reaches back to the roots of horror. Lovecraft. How long has it been since someone has tapped into the original horror mythology? Back to classics like "From Beyond". It is such a joy in this day and age to encounter a filmmaker who respects the origins of great horror.

On top of this, connecting the ancient evils with the modern terror of testing psychotropic drugs. And the clever connection to Hunter S. Thompson. Brilliant on so many levels. And, thankfully, a nice mix of reality TV and the best horror film scare techniques.
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1/10
The worst movie I've seen in a very long time
Seth_Rogue_One24 July 2014
Crap, garbage, filth, useless... There are many words to describe a movie in a negatory fashion, but I don't think there are words enough in the dictionary to describe just how bad this movie is.

It starts out somewhat interesting incorporating real news footage to make it seem like this story could actually have happened...

And it also starts out as a found footage/documentary which adds on to this...

And to be honest the first 10 minutes doesn't suck, they don't but I still can't bare to give this movie the lowest of ratings because everything after that is complete utter crap...

As I said it starts out as a found footage/documentary but that changes rather quickly and you start to wonder how the lead could possibly have six different angles depicting the events going on, does she have six cameramen?

No they just all of a sudden decided that it wasn't a found footage/documentary anymore...

Anyways even if I was to look aside that the plot is trying to confuse the viewer that it's actually clever when in fact it's just plain terrible and the actress who takes the lead after the likable guy in the beginning disappears is just undeniably unlikeable and you'd struggle finding a more bland and uninspired performance...

But you can't really blame her, who could be inspired with a script like this...

And did I tell you how incredibly boring and not at all scary this movie is? Well it really is...

Avoid at all costs
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6/10
Fear & Loathing on Short Wave Radio.
johnbkaramazov13 October 2014
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.
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8/10
Very effective and chilling. Scared the living $h!t outta me! Very tense and believable... Rewatchability: Moderate Blu-ray: Good A:9 V:8
lathe-of-heaven19 May 2015
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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1/10
No No No No No No
Bert Sesame Street20 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Max Payne without Max Payne.

Don't even do this one on a "buy one get one free" night at the rental place.

Nothing good about this movie. Even Ted Levine is average. The montage they do portraying him as some Hunter S. Thompson type character was the best thing about this movie. That's it.

and, the claims they make on the cover about it being scary....I have seen scarier episodes of Neighbours. I am tired of "so called" horror writers/directors using images that jump out from side of screen to "scare".

I have been a log time member of IMDb and this is my first review. I just want to make sure no-one else wastes money on this movie.

Just rubbish.
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4/10
Nicely filmed but, in all other respects, rather boring
Lars Bear26 March 2016
A movie about government-sanctioned experiments with psychotropic drugs, and the effects they had on the victims, could be interesting. If the actual events were fictionalized into something with supernatural elements, that also could work, as could a movie that exploited a presumed otherworldly origin for short-wave "numbers stations." As other reviewers have noted, however, Banshee's film-makers seem to have taken a jumble of such plot elements that might have worked on their own, and thrown them together in a way that just comes across as messy. Although the acting is competent, the characters lack any sense of motivation, and they do not appear to be changed in any way by the bizarre events that involve them. By the end of the movie everything is as it was at the start, so we might as well not have bothered with any of it.

Not the worst movie I've seen, by any means, but not particularly engaging. After the first thirty minutes I wanted it to stop.
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1/10
What did I just watch?
scorpio790924 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was by far one of the worst movies I've seen in my entire life. I'm a movie fanatic and have seen many many hundreds in my 35 years of life but this is definitely one of the top 10 worst movies I've ever seen. I have absolutely no clue what the heck I just watched and what it was about other than the MK-ULTRA experiments that were tested on civilians by the CIA. The plot summary of this movie is about journalist Anne Roland who tries to find out what happened to her friend and why he disappeared. This is never resolved as far as I can tell and if it was the writer and director did a poor job of doing so cause when it was over my thought was what happened to her missing friend? I'd give this movie no stars if I could but one is the lowest rating so therefore it gets one star. Thankfully it was short but even so I feel like I wasted an hour and twenty five minutes of my life watching this and after seeing it I left with a lot more questions than answers. My advice to you is skip this one unless you want to wonder what exactly it was you just watched.
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Good premise but way underdeveloped
d b24 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
*(slight spoilers)*

As a person who is interested in hallucinogens, astral projection, the occult, conspiracies, other dimensions, etc. this movie obviously appealed to me. However, my interest (and therefore degree of knowledge thereof) in the aforementioned is probably also what killed this movie for me. Anyway here is my breakdown:

Good: This movie was very good at being creepy. The premise was excellent and quite unsettling. The comically fake but decently executed "found footage" of MK ULTRA experiments was sufficiently creepy (though perhaps better in concept than execution). The shortwave radio stuff was exceptionally strange and creepy. Where they got the special DMT from was a nice touch. The tension was good; there were tons of predictable boo scares but they were done well enough for a movie of this budget.

Bad: Massively underdeveloped plot line. They could have done SO MUCH with the premise to make it horrific and bizarre. It's not really a spoiler though I guess it could be seen as one, but the entire plot can be summed up by the phrase they use "the DMT doesn't make you hallucinate, it turns your mind into a receiver and they can get in". That's it, that's the entire plot, now you can skip the movie. And if you missed it the first time don't worry because they repeat that line over and over throughout the second half of the movie. There is no further explanation beyond that phrase, you never see or learn about the entities "from beyond" (yeah they drop in that HPL reference), there is no motivation for them or for the government conspiracy/ies (I don't think they even talk about MK Ultra in any significant depth, which in itself could have been quite scary). Oh, sometimes peoples faces change and bleed for, um, some reason. There is no purpose for why any of the stuff in the movie happens - each scene and idea presented exists simply to be creepy and holds no weight or goal beyond that. Better dialog could have vastly enhanced this. I think a lot of stuff that they do, for example the unnecessarily glitchy cameras and bringing up that Lovecraft story, is done solely to attempt to cover up the fact that they had nothing interesting or substantial to provide the viewer with, but their hope is that the viewers mind will fill in the gaps with something good on it's own. There is next to no character development, and no evolution of the plot. Basically it starts with DMT being weird & scary and it ends with DMT still being weird & scary and no one knows (or cares) how or why. I ended up falling asleep towards the end because it was just so gripping...er, except not. I re-watched the ending, but, as predicted, I hadn't missed much. Also, a couple asides: DMT is a naturally occurring substance that exists in many plants (and some animals) which people have been extracting and ingesting for quite a long time (Ayahuasca, etc) without dying. Also to my knowledge MK Ultra focused around LSD (and to a lesser extent some other things) but not DMT. close enough I guess.

Overall, I sort of enjoyed watching this because it was tense and unsettling at times, but ultimately due to lack of ideas, and perhaps budget, it failed to deliver.
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10/10
Great Atmospheric Lovecraftian Horror.
robhartjr5 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I discovered this movie by chance. I was browsing a site that listed upcoming movies being released to DVD/Blu Ray. I saw this and it intrigued me. So I watched the trailer and was stoked to see the film. I read that it was loosely based on "From Beyond" by the great H.P. Lovecraft. That made me even more excited because I love the creeping terror of many Lovecraft works. I saw the low score on this site and that only slightly put me off. But I saw that the critics were giving the movie positive feedback, something that doesn't happen often in the horror genre. So the movie comes out and I buy it and wait till the night comes to watch it. Boy was this a horror gem.

Plot Synopsis. The movie revolves around a journalist who discovers that her college friend has disappeared after taking a hallucinatory drug that the CIA used to experiment with on humans during the MKUltra project. After taking the drug a radio suddenly broadcasts a creepy numbers station signal of unknown origin before "something" comes and takes the person. She goes on a journey to figure out what happened and is joined along the way by a Hunter S. Thompson inspired character who uses the drug regularly. On the journey there are supernatural happenings and creepy CIA footage of patients from the MKUltra era. What the two discover is beyond belief and terrifying.

The movie uses found footage sometimes, but don't be fooled. This is not a found footage movie. There are instances where the film cuts to creepy fake documentary footage as well. But for the most part, the movie is directed in a way that can best be described as a combination of traditional film making and found footage. The directing style for these scenes I speak of is masterful especially for the low budget. The darkness that filled the screen a lot got annoying at first, but it actually becomes another character in the movie. The scariest scenes are the scenes in the darkness that don't show the monster or only show slight glimpses of it. The creeping feeling one gets from these scenes is done so well. There are many jump scares. Even if you don't get a glimpse of the entity shown during some of the jump scares, they still work. Some are cheap scares, but most are clever and truly terrifying scares. The music was also perfectly done. Very eerie and sometimes relaxing to the point of utter creepiness. The numbers station broadcast that plays to warn you that the entity is coming is one of the creepiest and original horror movie ideas I've ever seen or heard. The sounds heard are just discomforting and well crafted. The acting is also terrific from everyone. This is a low budge movie, but there are some veteran actors such as Ted Levine who plays the crucial Hunter S. Thompson type character amazingly and humorously. Those don't recognize the name will know his face from "Silence of the Lambs" and his voice from the now classic horror movie "Joy Ride". For such a low budget virtually unknown movie, all the actors and actresses give great performances. I have to say again that the style of directing is so original and clever. Sometimes it gets annoying and maybe boring during the long shots, but the payoff is worth it. The night I first watched the movie, I actually dreamed of the events in the film happening to me and woke up feeling very creeped out. I don't have nightmares from horror movies often if ever. But this one made me close the closet door.

This movie will stick with you. The images seen will keep some people up at night. The radio broadcast sound will dig deep. I can tell that this movie will slowly become the cult horror classic it is destined to be. The current score as I type this review is a 5.4 with only around 1,000 votes. I predict as the film finds its audience that throughout the years the score will make its way up to at least a 6 and if lucky enough maybe in the 7 out of 10 territory. I look forward to the work from this new director as he gets into slightly bigger budgeted films. I do have one complaint that many might also have with the DVD. If not watching on Netflix when it comes out there, many will probably be seeing this on DVD. But the problem I had was that there were no subtitles. I don't have trouble hearing, but some of the dialogue was hard to understand or hear clearly even when blown up to a high volume. But that is just a minor issue. So buy or rent this horror movie if you need a good creepy scare for the night that will stick with you. Just be prepared to pay attention because you could miss things if not!
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1/10
Disgusting Chapter
Eclipse .3 April 2015
There is nothing worth telling about this movie except that it is one of the most disgusting movie I have ever watched. I waited and waited for the movie to pick up some pace and deliver something worth watching but there was nothing except disappointment. To be very frank I didn't like the trailer at all, I decided to watch the movie only after reading a few positive user reviews on IMDb. To my utter disgust it turned out to a complete waste of time. In fact majority of the movie is bald and boring, largely due to some poor acting & amateurish direction. In addition there was nothing scary in this so called 'horror flick' which was the least I expected. Bottom line guys stay away from this movie, save your 87 precious minutes or watch something else. I would like give it a big 0/10 but since there is no such option i vwill rate it 1/10.
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4/10
meh.....
jack par7 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
to be honest i didn't expect much from this film to begin with so in that regard it was better than expected.

good acting and the story was a good idea, but seemed incomplete.

nothing was explained, i don't expect everything to be explained to me in a movie and i can still enjoy a story with plot holes, but this was just a bunch of ideas kind of all thrown in some good some not so good it just made confusion.

normally with a movie like this i will re watch it to see if there is anything i may have missed, but it just wasn't that good an i really didn't care to search for explanations that i didn't catch the first time.

the Lovecraft reference seemed to me to be there just to make us associate the film with the author (cheap! if the story is good enough the viewer will draw their own associations).

i could pick this apart from characters doing stuff that no one would do to to real wold situations that just would happen to the cliché ending, but i'll stop there after all it's a movie and we all suspend belief to enjoy them (although real world documentary style makes it harder) and i won't go into the wasted acting talent i will just say this could have been so much better.
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7/10
The parts meant to be scary... Yeah, they scared me
ihearthorrorfilm9 January 2014
I'm definitely on the fence about how I feel about this film. On the one side, every scene that was meant to be scary, scared the poop out of me 100 percent. But, on the other side, every thing in between I found to be a little confusing and well, Blah. I was really confused by the misconception of the film being a found-footage film, when only the first few minutes were actual found footage themed. The rest of the film, which is shot found footage style i.e. guerilla style, is only that. I kept thinking that another person was filming the main character, but it ended up just being the way the film is shot. I think most of you will understand what I'm referring to once you watch it. My other beef with this film is that the story is all over the place making it hard to follow. I found myself tuning out every now and again because the main character was super blah and I had a hard time understanding what she was doing half the time. But regardless of the story and actors, this film is effing SCARY! Every few minutes, something would happen that was so horrifying that the images are burned into my brain. The creepy music and the subject matter is enough to get you past the annoying things and help to keep you focused on the reasons you came upon The Banshee Chapter in the first place. I swear to you that on more than one occasion during this film, I let out yelp/scream in many of the scenes. You know that noise that comes out of your body that you were completely unaware you were capable of making, until you are scared to the point that all cards are on the table. Yeah, this film did that to me multiple times throughout. So did I think this was a movie with a great story, no… not really. But do I think you should watch it if you love being scared, Absa-frickin-lootly!

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10/10
This movie scared the s*** out of me!!
bcheever29 January 2014
I've been hearing about this movie for a while - it got a lot of positive attention on the festival circuit last year so it was nice to finally be able to watch it on VOD at my own home.

It's a solid movie with some real gut-wrenching, nail-biting shocks. It takes a lot to shock me but this movie got to me.

Also it's based on actual creepy phenomenon like the government's MK-ULTRA program, unexplained short-wave "numbers" stations, various goings on deep in the Black Rock desert etc etc. Although it's not perfect, I would rate it up there as one of the scariest movies I've ever seen. Don't miss it.
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