Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The Banishing Review: A Stylish Haunting In Classic England

Jessica Brown Findlay	Jessica Brown Findlay	...	Marianne Sean Harris	Sean Harris	...	Harry Price John Lynch	John Lynch	...	Malachi John Heffernan	John Heffernan	...	Linus Adam Hugill	Adam Hugill	...	Frank Jason Thorpe	Jason Thorpe	...	Dr. Sutter Anya McKenna-Bruce	Anya McKenna-Bruce	...	Adelaide James Swanton	James Swanton	...	Monk Cokey Falkow	Cokey Falkow	...	Barman Seamus O'Neill	Seamus O'Neill	...	Old Man Amy Trigg	Amy Trigg	...	Agnes Nigel Travis	Nigel Travis	...	Burt Sara Apostolaki	Sara Apostolaki	...	Woman in Rags Danny Shayler	Danny Shayler	...	Monk Jean St. Clair	Jean St. Clair	...	Betsy Matthew Clarke	Matthew Clarke	...	Reverend Stanley Hall Jacqueline Foster	Jacqueline Foster	...	Church goer (uncredited)

Release date: April 15, 2021
Running time: 96 minutes
Starring: Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey), Sean Harris (Mission: Impossible franchise), John Lynch (The Secret Garden, Black Death), and John Heffernan (Eye in the Sky)
Directed By: Christopher Smith (Creep, Severance, Triangle).

From acclaimed director Chris Smith comes THE BANISHING, which tells the true story of the most haunted house in England. A young reverend and his wife and daughter move into a manor with a horrifying secret. When a vengeful spirit haunts the little girl and threatens to tear the family apart, the reverend and his wife are forced to confront their beliefs. They must turn to black magic by seeking the help of a famous Occultist or risk losing their daughter.

Maya Amsellem	...	producer David Beton	...	executive producer Laurie Cook	...	producer Ed Fraiman	...	executive producer Sharon Harel	...	producer Neil Jones	...	co-producer Dot Kyle	...	Pre-Production Line Producer Adam Nagel	...	executive producer Jason Newmark	...	producer Kenneth O'Toole	...	associate producer Beata Saboova	...	executive producer
The Banishing transports you to a different time and place.  The setting and attention to detail in this film are amazing.  From the old style house, to the little touches like old electrical buttons and switches, to the wonderful classic cars, you really feel like you are in a classic English countryside.  And the actors do a good job with these roles, selling their characters and helping to contribute to the sense of transportation.  There are not a lot of characters, but they are well cast and interesting.  Most of them have backstories that you slowly learn about and all of them are not what they originally appear.  And the movie does a great job with practical effects so you don't ever need to break your suspension of disbelief.

However, the story of The Banishing takes a long time to develop and feels disjointed at the beginning.  It really jumped around at the start of the film and I didn't get a great sense of the characters and their situation.  And the film takes a long time to get to any sort of scares, despite the initially good tension.  They do come eventually, but the film is a much more subdued haunting movie than I was expecting.  That is not to say the movie is devoid of scares and unsettling images, but these scares are fleeting and over quickly.  And the movie does try to address the issue of the treatment of women, tying it to the overall haunting, but this doesn't really hit on an emotional level.  Part of this might be the lack of historical context in the story.  The film is supposed to be a true story, but the story seems far fetched and there is no indication at the end of the film that any of these characters were real people.  It feels like more of an "inspired by" telling rather than a true story.  And finally, the film's supernatural side is over far too quickly.  The movie starts to pick up and then feels like those scares are over and done right when the film starts to get exciting.  I really liked the opening and felt that this film has all the components of something I would like.  But in the end, it was just a stylish, great setting for a story that did not grab me.  

The Banishing has a great setting, nuanced characters, and a definite sense of style, transporting you to a classic English town to witness this haunted story. 

Rent it.

Directed by  Christopher Smith	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   David Beton	...	(written by) Ray Bogdanovich	...	(written by) Dean Lines	...	(written by)

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The Banishing is available to stream on Shudder starting April 15, 2021. 

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