Friday, 30 August 2013

BANSHEE CHAPTER

CONTAINS MILD SPOILERS

In truth, I was all set to walk on this film after an absolutely appalling opening 20 minutes that set up absolutely nothing except a 3D effect that was entirely unnecessary and made no sense within the plot. But I'm glad I stuck with it because after that first reel, heavily indebted to the tiresome tropes of the damnable found footage technique (including the inevitable unanswered question as to how we, the audience, were ever able to see this footage), it came together quite nicely into an agreeable conspiracy horror in the vein of The X-Files with some interesting wrinkles.

Banshee Chapter (I must have missed the significance of the title - there are no banshees in the film) kicks off in found mode with a student ingesting, on camera, a hallucinogenic drug that was supposedly used years ago by the US military during their now-abandoned MK-Ultra mind control experiments. When he and his cameraman disappear (he was of course recording everything), his girlfriend attempts to track him down, aided only by the counterculture novelist who may have supplied the drug in the first place....

If it weren't for the 3D this would be a neat little SF thriller with a perfectly decent story, nicely put together. But the stereo effect is distracting and unnecessary (even if it's genuine 3D rather than a conversion), especially when it's been applied to mobile phone cameras, TV news clips, police interview footage and UMatic videotapes from the 1970s. In 2D it would probably be much better, but it just looks wrong to have the date stamps floating off the picture and 3D imagery clearly coming off a cameraphone that's only got one lens.

Admittedly this is a minor detail that won't apply for most people who watch the flat DVD release on their flat televisions but hey, that was the way they screened it at Frightfest. It doesn't impact on the plot or the characters. But it does make you wonder why they went to the trouble of replicating an obvious untruth, and it makes you wonder why they thought an audience would cheerfully overlook it. It hobbles their film and it gets in the way of the ideas, scares and suspense which were certainly strong enough to work without silly gimmicks.

**

1 comment:

Randy Jackson said...

Dude shut the fuck up about the 3D, I came to read a review of the MOVIE not your shitty opinion of the effects....