Banshee Chapter (2013)

Plot Overview

After James Hirsch mysteriously disappears after taking a chemical that supposedly induced mind control powers, his journalist friend, Anne, begans to investigate his disappearance, the chemical and a strange radio signal.

Review

This film couldn’t make up its mind what it wanted to be and is a complete mess. It’s half a ‘found footage’ type film and the other half is a regular narrative but still has that handheld look and feel. It begins with James Hirsch (Michael McMillian) drinking the chemical and asking his friend to record him so he can report the findings in his novel. After a few pointless cuts, a radio starts playing somewhere else in the house, something comes and then the tape apparently rewinds and the image goes upside down and shows some random images. Why? Who knows.

Then there’s a strange narration by Anne (Katia Winter) making it sound like a documentary, but then it jumps straight into a regular film. This was already jarring, but these constant jumps between storytelling styles continues throughout the whole film and is really distracting. It’s also glaringly obvious that it was done because the writer/director, Blair Erickson, couldn’t work out how to tell his story as well as jumping on the bandwagon for the found footage genre and including some jump scares.

I didn’t find the plot particularly interesting to begin with, but it ends up with about 10 different subplots that don’t mix well and because it can’t decide what storytelling style it wants to use and just throws a whole bunch of undeveloped random scenes at you, it’s neither able to convey a sense of mystery and dread or really give a complete story. You could skip the entire middle of the film and not really miss anything. The characters are pointless, the story never really evolves and you’re basically left with nothing.

The actors were pretty bad, especially Katia Winter who I just found grating. Ted Levine over-acted, but it could’ve just been because of a poorly written character. McMillian was good, but he’s just such a likable guy with great screen presence and I think it’s hard to not enjoy him. He unfortunately wasn’t in it that much.

Summary

I’m just kind of going in circles with this review, there’s really not much there to comment on. It’s just told so badly and feels so contrived that it’s really hard to get into it at all. Either be found footage or don’t be. Some of the jump scares got me, but jump scares are easy and unless they’re earned they don’t help a film. It’s uninteresting, not scary and ultimately pointless.


Rating: 4/10

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