Film Review: BANSHEE CHAPTER (2013)

BANSHEE CHAPTER **** U.S.A. 2013 Dir: Blair Erickson 85 mins

Alternating between standard third-person vantage point, faux documentary and found-footage horror, Blair Erickson’s story of young documentarians uncovering a sinister, extensive government conspiracy, captures a vivid sense of mounting dread. Its basis is the U.S. government’s “MK=Ultra” project, a series of chemical experiments on unsuspecting citizens designed to induce mind control.
A graduate journalist (Katia Winter) sets out to find a friend who vanished after ingesting a chemical linked to the project, and hooks up with Ted Levine’s counter-culture, acid-dropping writer, who knows a thing or two about the sinister machinations of The Man. With its inexplicit scares, BANSHEE CHAPTER (unnecessarily shot in 3-D) understands the impact of keeping almost everything in the shadows or barely glimpsed. Levine, channelling Timothy Leary, is terrific in a film that taps into the X FILES “trust no one” vein from start to downbeat finish. Erickson frequently refers to the work of H.P. Lovecraft, specifically FROM BEYOND, though you won’t find any of the graphic inter-dimensional mayhem of Stuart Gordon’s adaptation of the same.
Review by Steven West


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