27th Jul2013

‘The Banshee Chapter’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Katia Winder, Michael McMillian, Ted Levine | Written and Directed by Blair Erickson


Much like the recently reviewed The Dyatlov Pass Incident, The Banshee Chapter (though the title is just Banshee Chapter on screen)is a blend of fact and fiction – this time based on real documents, actual test subject testimony and uncovered secrets about covert programs run by the CIA such as the much-publicised MK Ultra program – which was seemingly the cause for 50% of the events that occurred in The X-Files!

So, the first thing that hits you about Banshee Chapter is its pedigree. Featuring stars from both HBO and Showtime series’ and produced by Zachary Quinto and the folks behind the Kevin Spacey film Margin Call, the films centres on journalist Anne Roland (Winter) who follows the mysterious trail of a missing friend (McMillian) that had been experimenting with mind-altering chemicals developed in secret government drug tests. Levine plays the role of a rogue counter-culture novelist (think Hunter S. Thompson) with a penchant for substance abuse and firearms who leads the journalist into the mystery of dangerous chemical research.

The second thing that hits you about Banshee Chapter is just how trippy the film is! Originally lensed in 3D, I can see this seriously messing with peoples minds – even in the 2D version I saw, the film is somewhat of a mind fuck. But that’s not necessarily a good thing… The film forgoes any real story and is more a series of set-ups designed to play with the audience and make you feel off guard. There is a plot, but the less said about it (and the cliched dialogue that goes with it) the better. This really is more an experience than a traditional movie.

If I’m honest, there isn’t much to recommend about this “film”. The Banshee Chapter is filled with cliched jump scares (way too many of them, seemingly coming every 10 minutes) – complete with ridiculous over the top soundtrack; some risible, completely inane dialogue; terrible stilted acting from Katia Winder and worst of all the awesome Ted Levine is totally wasted, in both senses of the word, in his Thompson-esque role… The film is also shot in low-light, which means our heroine spends most of the film crawling round in the dark – which makes for a scary movie for those that don’t watch horror films but will just annoy the hell out of genre fans. And the real reason for the low-light? Just so we can be terrified of strange people and creatures that are caught in torchlight! So boring and so, so cliched…

Banshee Chapter is nothing you haven’t see before, and done much better, in Fox’s The X-Files. Whether seeing in in 3D will improve the mind-bending rollercoaster thrill-ride like “experience” is debatable but I known nothing can save this film from it’s terrible script.

* 1/5

One Response to “‘The Banshee Chapter’ Review”

  • Kenny

    At last! A reviewer that tells it like it is! You should get this review on Rotten Tomatoes as the reviewers there creamed themselves over this clichéd tripe. This movie bugged the shit out of me thanks to annoying and cheap scares (I think it’s just lazy)… and don’t get me started on the over the top soundtrack at said “jump” moment. Take away the telegraphed scare set pieces, turn down the banshee screams to match the sound level of the dialogue and for the love of God switch the fucking lights on when you enter a room and there is very little left to say that this is a “horror”… But I guess that’s what passes for a scary movie these days.
    Having said all of that I loved the premise for the story which was the only savng grace for me (though the ending was just ridiculous).
    A horror film for teenage girls and boys on date night that could have been half decent horror movie if it weren’t for the above ailments… 2 out of 5 is a fair score.