The Banshee Chapter (2014)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

On the trail of a missing friend (Michael McMillian) who had been experimenting with mind-altering drugs, a young journalist (Katia Winter) - aided by a rogue counter-culture writer (Ted Levine, The Silence of The Lambs) -- finds herself drawn into the dangerous world of top-secret government chemical research and the mystery of a disturbing radio signal of unknown origin. A fast-paced thriller blending fact and fiction, Banshee Chapter is based on real documents, actual test subject testimony, and uncovered secrets about covert programs run by the CIA.(c) XLRATOR
Rating:
R (for some violence/disturbing images, drug use, language and brief nudity)
Genre:
Horror , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 limited
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

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Cast

Katia Winter
as Anne Roland
Ted Levine
as Thomas Blackburn
Michael McMillian
as James Hirsch
Monique Candelaria
as Patient 14
Cyd Schulte
as Laura Henrik
Chad Brummett
as Dr. Kessel
Corey Moosa
as Patient 11
Vivian Nesbitt
as Olivia Kmiec
William Sterchi
as Henry Cale
John Lawlor
as Elderly Doctor
Kevin Wiggins
as Black Rock County Sheriff
J.D. Garfield
as Retired MK Ultra Doctor
Tone Forrest
as MK-Ultra Survivor
Maud de Proost
as Pool Guest
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News & Interviews for The Banshee Chapter

Critic Reviews for The Banshee Chapter

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (4)

"The Banshee Chapter" is both elegant and terrifying.

Full Review… | January 10, 2014
RogerEbert.com
Top Critic

The central drama never fully engages, but the jolts that "Banshee" delivers are check-the-locks scary.

Full Review… | January 9, 2014
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

A moody horror film from an immensely talented new director.

Full Review… | January 8, 2014
Film.com
Top Critic

The Banshee Chapter can't seem to decide if it wants to be a found-footage horror movie, or a more traditional one. To its detriment, it splits the difference.

Full Review… | January 8, 2014
AV Club
Top Critic

A smart, clever, and diverting little mash-up of numerous sci-fi and horror tropes.

Full Review… | August 23, 2015
TheHorrorShow

...just another run-of-the-mill low-budget horror effort.

Full Review… | June 11, 2015
Reel Film Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Banshee Chapter

½

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.

Gimly M.
Gimly M.

Super Reviewer

An arguably decent horror. Tense and scary, enough to settle the horror itch.

Film Crazy
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

½

Not sure what to make of this film. On the one hand, I did appreciate how it focused on something very real, as the MK-Ultra experiments have been widely documented and reported on for years, so there's an air of realism, to the story, even if the scares are anything but. There's also a part of me that really didn't fully get into this movie and I can't quite put my finger as to why I didn't get into it. It's certainly ambitious than a lot of horror film, even if it borrows from HP Lovecraft, by Blair Erickson's own admission. It's obvious that the movie is a re-telling of Lovecraft's own From Beyond, it borrows so much from that short story that some will question this film's integrity. I can understand that, as this story is pretty much exactly the same as From Beyond's with the exception uses the hallucinogenic drug experiments performed by the CIA for 20 years. The effects are the same, the experiments the CIA performs have led its test subjects to, and I quote from From Beyond's Wikipedia page, "perceive planes of existence beyond the scope of accepted reality." Exactly the same thing happens here, so, again, not a particularly unique film outside of the fact that it uses something real to 'legitimize' its story. It's got some good scares all things considered, but it doesn't really offer as truly a creepy experience as much as it deludes itself into thinking it is. I think a film like Lake Mungo tells an effectively creepy story, they don't use jump scares. Just bits and pieces of information here and there revealing a larger, darker story. The film does some of that, but it doesn't really enough of it, focusing more on the jump scares. Granted, the jump scares are probably more well-thought out than you'd probably see in other films, but they're still jump scares. It's nothing that will stick with you. The acting is good, Ted Levine is massively entertaining as Hunter Thompson...ummm, I mean Thomas Blackburn. If you have even the slightest knowledge of Hunter Thompson, then you know Blackburn is a clear rip-off of him. There's also this author, whose name I can't remember, that was part of the CIA's experiment with LSD, who later became a big proponent of the drug, and I'm reminded of that as well in the Blackburn character. Katia Winter is fine as well, but she doesn't really have much to do other than to scream a lot and pretend to be in love with James, the dude she's looking for. Ted Levine gets the meat of the script, he's great here, even if his character is essentially Hunter Thompson under another name so they wouldn't get sued by the Thompson estate. I digress, this movie was decent. It's got some great ideas, but so-so execution, mostly because of how much it actually borrows from HP Lovecraft and the film not really achieving a creepy, uneasy tone that would've benefited this movie a lot. Average at best.

Jesse Ortega
Jesse Ortega

Super Reviewer

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