The Banshee Chapter - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Banshee Chapter Reviews

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Super Reviewer
April 3, 2015
An arguably decent horror. Tense and scary, enough to settle the horror itch.
Super Reviewer
½ January 2, 2014
An investigative journalist looks for a friend who disappeared after taking an experimental CIA hallucinogenic drug from the 1960s. The plot pulls in CIA mind control experiments, "numbers stations," and other bits of paranoid fringe lore, but as a whole the this talky found-footage style movie has only one really good idea: it's fun to see a key character transparently based on gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson tromping through an "X-Files" style scenario.
Super Reviewer
½ October 22, 2015
Far from perfect, but how many horror films of the past few years can you say actually got *better* as the film progressed?

I will say though, that it took me a full third of the movie to realise it wasn't meant to be found-footage.
Francisco G.
Super Reviewer
½ September 21, 2014
This was an actually well thought premise, with genuinely creepy and scary moments but it tried to bite more than it could chew. Too many conspiracy theories that don't matter much in the end and an Hunter S. Thompson twist that you'll either roll with it or will kill the movie for you. All this a bit unnecessary to the main story which was quite entertaining and had some highlights here and there.
Super Reviewer
March 24, 2014
Horror based around real life experiments on humans by the US government where people reported feeling like something was after them and seeing strange entities and hallucinating. A female journalists friend goes missing after taking the experimental drug and she goes on a mission to find out what happened to him. Her findings lead her to the house of a cult writer and the journalists discoveries get deeper and darker.
The Banshee Chapter does a good job of upping the tension on a regular basis and not overdoing it on the scares so when they do come, it fucking works!
Being loosely based on something that actually happened also peaks your interest . Winner of 'Scariest Film' at Total Films Frightfest, The Banshee Chapters real and gritty feel adds another dimension, making it a must see for horror and thriller fans alike.
½ March 14, 2014
Cool horror flick based off of the MK-ULTRA experiments--has a Hunter S. Thompson character played by "Buffalo Bill"/"Rusty Nail" /Monk's boss Ted Levine. Easy to miss/worth red-boxing.
½ March 8, 2014
While certainly not perfect, 'The Banshee Chapter' manages to be a pretty effective little horror flick. No one will accuse it of being very original or having much in the way of structured storytelling, but it is quite effective in its scares. In an era of overindulgent gore and CGI, this film recognizes what it is and excels at it.

I'll start with a few negatives off the bat. As I said, it doesn't bring much to the table as far as originality. It appears to be loosely based on H.P Lovecraft's "From Beyond" (which is directly referenced in the film), but when I say 'loosely' I mean 'barely discernible'. Despite this, it definitely maintains its Lovecraftian vibe. Lesser known films such as 'Pulse', 'Jacobs Ladder', 'The Objective' and 'White Noise' have some fingerprints here, as well as a few nods to Japanese style horror films. Some issues with the script and subpar acting leak out in a few instances, but nothing terrible. One major complaint I have here is the cinematography. Part traditional part found footage, but you can't ever tell because the traditional portion is just as shaky and jarring as the found footage. Lastly and perhaps most importantly in my list of drawbacks is a fairly large degree of what the hell. There is very little in the way of explanation or reason. Things just sort of happen. It is as if many of the scenes were written independently and then a connective plot device was manufactured to tie them in. I am a fan of leaving some things open to your audience, but there are simply too many half cooked ideas floating around that are never even close to explained.

All these negatives aside, there is still a pretty good movie here. A slow burn style story method really works to amp up the tension, making the most of the limited action it has. Just like the Lovecraft story on which it is based, its creeping and smothering atmosphere instills a sense of pure dread without hardly doing anything. It exemplifies a common thread throughout all of Lovecraft's work: the human race is an infant in a world of ancient and slumbering evil. Also like Lovecraft, the scientifically analytical lens through which the story is viewed is just as creepy as the more traditional scares. Speaking of, the scares it has up its sleeve are legit, and the effects (while scant) are well done and quite freaky.

The acting is pretty strong in general, but I have to single out the underutilized Ted Levine. His Hunter S. Thompson knockoff is a great deal of fun. He really throws himself in headfirst, and you can tell he enjoyed himself in this role. While he is the only recognizable actor here, the rest of the cast is solid. A few bad moments from Katia Winter and Jenny Gabrielle aside, everyone holds their own quite well. The film is in pretty good hands technically (aside from the previously stated cinematography issues). Minimal music, great use of backlighting, original and creepy sound editing generally play up and ultimately mask some of the films shortcomings.

While no one will ever mistake this film for a masterpiece, 'The Banshee Chapter' is a creepy film with plenty going for it. In a relatively down year for horror, this film can lay claim to being in the upper echelon, once again showing that the scariest thing is the thing we don't see. While it isn't a good adaptation of Lovecraft's novel, its aura is abundantly clear. Pop this one on sometime. You could do a lot worse.
½ January 29, 2014
A mix of found-footage and traditional cinema, The Banshee Chapter fuses together various conspiracy theories involving the government's drug experiments on civilians, numbers stations, etc. to create a creepy, enthralling, and original horror film. It cleverly features a counter-cultural author, based on Hunter S. Thompson, who both provides comic relief and adds to the film's paranoid aura. Creepy, funny, and intelligent, The Banshee Chapter doesn't quite ramp up the action to a climax like it could have, but it still manages to be a thoroughly satisfying and unique piece of horror cinema.
February 6, 2016
Adequately-executed jump-scare horror themed around some classic bits of conspiracy folklore, though it never really outgrows the formula it starts with.
January 3, 2016
Not sure if it was just that I wasn't paying full attention to this movie, but I kinda didn't get it.. Was it all just imaginary and the drugs are making the mind play tricks?
There was still some creepy jumpy scenes. I liked how it wouldn't show a clear shot of what it was they were on the run from, kept it more scary that way. Could've looked cheap and tacky if they showed what it looked like
October 27, 2015
The film did enough to keep my interest and wasn't drawn out. Some nice jumpy moments played to good effect.
Super Reviewer
½ October 22, 2015
Far from perfect, but how many horror films of the past few years can you say actually got *better* as the film progressed?

I will say though, that it took me a full third of the movie to realise it wasn't meant to be found-footage.
September 22, 2015
Some neat ideas around MK Ultra, DMT and Numbers Stations are wasted in an unfocused mess, centred around an unconvincing lead and her unlikely alliance with a Hunter S Thompson impersonator.
April 9, 2015
I am not a fan of horror movies that rely on jump scares as their main attraction. The Banshee Chapter is freaky and has a good plot, but there are only so many jump scares I can take until they get predictable and I get extremely annoyed. There is a lot of potential here, but it is stripped down to cheap thrills and scare tactics.
April 27, 2015
Kind of like the ring meets dmt. Has some decent jumps. Makes you feel claustrophobic.
½ April 4, 2015
Scary as hell for me as I hate horror film but not really sure I understood what it was all about in the end, probably due to my difficulty concentrating and understanding things these days :((
March 9, 2015
Solid with the scares and stylish on its design, its a pretty damn scary found footage movie
February 10, 2015
Curious story impossible to watch
½ October 9, 2014
an ambitious--albeit confusing and unsettling--little horror film.
October 2, 2014
I didn't really expect anything while watching it, but when I saw it, it was very scary. There was jump scares, but surprisingly they worked on me. It wouldn't work if they use too much on it, but they didn't use a lot of it. I never seen anything like this premise in a horror film before. I'm sure there's other films like this, but this is the first time I seen a premise like this. The acting is pretty good which is surprising because it's usually dull acting in a horror film. The designs in this are very creepy and were used effectively. However, there was some stuff that weren't answered, and the twist ending was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Some of the twists were actually shocking and makes sense, but when it got to the final one, it felt unnecessary and it would've been fine if it wasn't even in the movie. It's sad that indie horror films are doing a bit better than hollywood horror films.
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