The theme of 2013 is undoubtedly conspiracy, most of the major horror/thriller movies this year have a conspiracy angle, and Banshee Chapter is no stranger to this approach, With one o the lowest budgets Banshee Chapter enters the fray but can it contend with the others.
James Hirsch has been researching a 1950’s program that used human guinea pigs (a real life program) to experiment with the minds of those that participate in the program, this was known as MKUltra. Having obtained a vile of liquid from “friends in Colorado” he ingests the fluid, within a few hours the radio in his apartment starts transmitting a creepy jingle and a countdown in varied languages. James identifies the voices as a countdown, and states “someone’s here” seconds before something horrific happens and James exits, his friend three days later vanishes without a trace. Friend and lover Anna (Katia Winter) decides to investigate the loss of her friend, her journey takes her into a mystery the government have tried to keep secret for years.
Banshee Chapter is incredibly effective as low-budget horror tale, clearly limited in respect of cash it works hard with what it has to create a higher production value, and it’s incredibly effective. The movies strength comes from it’s opening ten minutes, and James’ story is played out in the most horrific manner, allowing the audience to experience a taste of what is to come, and in turn fear it through it’s entire duration.
The most chilling aspect of the film is the chilling radio jingle, and accompanying countdown in numerous languages, this mix of innocence and menace, and the foreboding build up of terror that comes with that sound, really does play on both your nerves, and your mind, it’s probably one of the most chilling things ever heard in a movie, and is the thing that will ultimately stay with each and every person that sees the film.
Newcomer Blair Erickson handles the movie competently, the film had no budget for lighting so a combination of light from buildings and torches was all that was used to bring the movie to life, and it’s done really well. Erickson acts like a pro, the way he handles the varied scenes, bringing them to life, despite limitations.
Banshee Chapter really works, but the harsh reality is it wont get to see cinemas here in the UK which is a real shame, the film is every bit as terrifying as the best found footage movies, without the same low level approach. The performances that include Ted Levine and William Sterchi are just fine, and despite the odd hollow point this is without a doubt not a film to be mess, and the factor that it’s baseline story is based on FACT gives it that extra edge.