Not exactly a masterpiece, BANSHEE CHAPTER is still a little gem of a movie that surprised me with its clever twist on the found footage film and delivered a number of chills even though it relied heavily on “boo” scares.
After her friend James (Michael McMillian) goes missing after experimenting with a government drug used in the notorious MK Ultra research, budding journalist Anna (Katia Winter) takes up the search. The trail of clues leads her to Thomas Blackburn (Ted Levine) a counter-culture guru who may know what happened to her friend.
Together they embark on an investigation that leads them down a rabbit hole of CIA conspiracies that may or may not include extraterrestrial origins.As I’ve mentioned before I’m not a big fan of found footage films as many still use the same techniques and scares done to expert effect in THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and add nothing new to the style. So it’s always refreshing to see some attempts at injecting some new angles to the already tired approach.
BANSHEE CHAPTER uses a lot of pre-existing news and archival footage to draw you in and establish a more docudrama approach and it’s attempts at simulating the reality of the story is quite effective at times.
They then mix the found-footage material with “normal” filmmaking. This is a great idea if handled properly, but the problem here is that the “normal” footage looks so similar in style and lighting to the found footage that it’s hard to know what style is being employed at given moments. It’s areal shame, because I felt if they took more care to differentiate the two shooting styles the film would have worked better for me.
Another aspect that is uneven is the acting. Some of it works, some of it doesn’t. This is especially true with Winter our guide through the film. Sometimes her performance falls flat and it pulled me out a few times. The only consistent performance is Ted Levine (Who you’ll know as “Buffalo Bill” from THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS). He’s truly inspired in the film and upgraded it quite a bit.
For a movie with an odd title, BANSHEE CHAPTER is a strong recommend from me. It’s available streaming on NETFLIX and it’s one that’s worth a look. Not entirely scary, it still has a quality story that kept me entertained throughout.