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DVD Review: Banshee Chapter

One would think that a low-budget film as scary as Banshee Chapter would get some sort of theatrical release, due to the multitude of horror films that just aren’t scary. I wasn’t expecting a straight-to-DVD release to frighten me whatsoever, but boy was I wrong. Banshee Chapter is probably the scariest film to be released since last summer’s The Conjuring. The film opens with archive footage of Bill Clinton, among others, discussing the government’s participation in an experiment called Project MKUltra, the nature of which unfolds with the film’s mystery. The film then cuts to found footage of James Hirsch (True Blood’s Michael McMillian), a young man who gets a hold of the drug DMT-19 that was used in the MKUltra experiment.

After a gruesome accident, the film skips forward, ditching the found footage style, to Anne (Katia Winter), a reporter and friend of James who decides to investigate the Project MKUltra experiment. Anne is joined by Thomas Blackburn (Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs), an eccentric writer whose connection to the Project MKUltra may run deeper than we are initially led to believe. While the film is at times extremely scary, a few too many plot holes weaken the story. While I’m not really a fan of the new found-footage thing, I at least believe that if a film is going to start with it, they should stick to it. The idea of the film going back and forth can be kind of distracting.

The DVD comes equipped with a few special features, most of which don’t add much to the film. All are about 3-4 minutes long.

What is Banshee Chapter
This feature pretty much describes the film you have just watched, in case you forgot.

Directing Banshee Chapter
In this addition, director Blair Erickson explains the challenges of adapting the film’s screenplay. It’s probably the best one on the disc.

The History Behind Banshee Chapter
This feature goes digs a little deeper about the actual Project MKUltra. Like the beginning of the film, it features archive footage and some “experts” discussing the conspiracy.

Banshee Chapter Shooting in 3D
Oh, that movie was in 3D? Ya, I didn’t think so. Not only was the film not released on 3D Bluray, but it wasn’t even shown in 3D for its few festival screenings. In this feature, the cinematographer discusses the process of using new 3D technology to make the film. Clearly it didn’t work.

Matt Hoffman

Matthew Hoffman is a Toronto-based cinephile who especially enjoys French films and actresses over the age of 50; including but not limited to: Isabelle Huppert, Meryl Streep, and Jacki Weaver.