Reed Alexander's Horror Review of 'The Banshee Chapters' (2013)
Hunter S. Thompson V. Interdenominational Invaders!
Hunter S. Thompson and a journalist team up to fight aliens from another dimension ... Not literally, but pretty much. The character of Thomas Blackburn is pretty much just Hunter S. Thompson. Kinda how that one stoner kid from Freddy V. Jason was really just supposed to be Jason Muse.
Anyway, I like a lot about this movie even though it’s a weird sort of shaky camera hybrid. The weird thing is, it's not even supposed to be shaky camera. While some of the movie is based on found footage, the rest is just shot third person as per normal. But the whole movie is shot like a shaky camera. Here's the thing, this movie was intentionally going for the feel of shaky camera for the purpose of using it as an effect. I get the feeling they were trying to simulate an altered state of perception that is affecting the fourth wall as well as the characters in the movie. It’s pretty darn surreal.
While this movie did depend a lot on shameless jump scares, it wasn't without the necessary atmosphere that made that sort of thing okay. Ultimately, the use of shaky camera was okay in this sense.
All the same, the acting was actually pretty good for horror. Even Thomas Blackburn, who was completely over the top, made sense. Especially if you know who Hunter S. Thompson is. So while that was kinda hammy, it’s supposed to be. The plot was deep and layered but simple enough to follow. This played out well with a story that jumped around a bit as it needed an easily digestible concept to stay grounded. They have to explain the Black Radio Signals, they have to explain this new kind of LSD and it’s origins, and they have to tie these to things to the female leads missing friend and this mysterious government coverup. This seems like a lot to string together but it’s actually seamless. And if you can’t tell from my earlier description, the atmosphere is perfect for all of this. Almost gave me an acid flashback.
I’m calling this movie a Reed Alexander "Must Watch." It just good horror.
Anybody else who has seen this movie think the creatures from the other dimension kinda look like head crab mutated humans from Half-Life? I mean, without the head crab, but the elongated scythe like fingers and the twisted pose, shambling like an animated corpse. It’s pretty fucking awesome really.
Anyway, I can't give a movie review without shitting on it at least a little bit. Even if I like a movie, no movie is without flaw and this had a pretty big one that irked me.
Okay, I get it, gubment bad, freedom good, Merica! I agree with this on some levels and I'm well aware of the experiments that took place on unsuspecting citizens, and yes it was black government run rampant, and yeah it was horrible, but how dumb does the writer of this movie think the government is? I get that there was massive cover-up and that they abandoned the project due to 'undesirable outcomes' but ... they just left the whole experiment down there? Without destroying any of the evidence or destroying the radio communications tower that the aliens were communicating with?
I get that they packed up in a hurry, fine. But in one scene the main characters go down into the laboratory where the radio signal is coming from and there's all the equipment still down there, still active, and clearly one of those creatures in some kind of hyperbaric chamber. Soooooooo... they just left the hostile inter-dimensional entity down there? Whatever, still a damn good movie.
I highly recommend this one.