Powered by Blogger.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Review: The Banishing

Director: Christopher Smith

Screenplay: David Beton, Ray Bogdanovich, and Dean Lines

Year: 2021

Reverend Linus moves to a roomy English house with his wife and daughter after he comes back from ministry work. What the family doesn’t know is that sometime before, the house was the stage of a murder-suicide. Shortly after they move there, they start to witness supernatural events that seem to be remnants of what happened there.

Based on the 1930s, just in the preface of World War II, “The Banishing” follows Linus (John Heffernan; “Dracula”), his wife Marianne (Jessica Brown Findlay; “Black Mirror”), and his daughter Adelaide (Anya McKenna-Bruce”), and it is inspired by the Borley Rectory legend. This place has been known for decades as one of the most haunted places in England and has served as the basis and inspiration for many books and movies. “The Banishing” is the latest to use this scenario to try and create a chilling movie.

Linus is the first to get to the place, chosen by his superior Malachi (John Lynch; “Black Death”), who knows what happened there but who prefers to keep the information to himself. Marianne and Adelaide arrive there later and we can see the dynamics between Linus and his family. The first interaction between them raises the alarms, as Linus is a cold man that seems to prefer his religious role before his family, to the extent where a conversation points out that Linus and Marianne seem to have not consumed their marriage, which raises questions about who Adelaide’s father is.

Soon, the script by David Beton (“Tower Block”), Ray Bogdanovich, and Dean Lines under Christopher Smith’s (“Triangle”) direction start going deeper into the marriage’s personal and family problems, which end up having an important role in the plot’s resolution. Particularly, the motherhood topic, especially how it was seen in those times, is fundamental for the plot’s development and resolution and provides an interesting philosophical layer. As a complement, the director does a great job of capturing the essence of the time that at the same time helps create an uncomfortable atmosphere around the imposing and intimidating structure.

As a horror movie, “The Banishsing” doesn’t do such a good job, as it only offers the cliche we repeatedly see in haunted house horror movies, with some effective jump scares and little more. When the plot starts developing and moving towards the horror field, it has a very promising setup, but soon the common cliches make an appearance and it loses its effectiveness as soon as they are established. From there the movie goes hastily downhill until reaching a completely lackluster and disappointing ending.

“The Banishing” bases its story on a place that is considered to be the most haunted place in England, but it doesn’t live up to this fame. What seems to be a terrifying haunted house story, ends up being a shy period piece that feeds from all of the genres chlicés we have seen so many times that they lose all effectiveness, Instead of standing out for its horror, it does so for its acting and the interpersonal problems of the protagonists, a clear sign that it did not achieve its goal as a horror movie.

No comments:

Post a Comment