In Scream Of The Banshee you will find an overall horrific experience. If you are looking for a movie that fails on every level then watch it. Anyone involved with this project should be tremendously embarrassed.
Plot: A professor and small team of student archeologists discover a strange relic. Upon examining it they accidentally release a captured banshee. Having been exposed to the bansee’s scream they start being haunted by her in waking nightmares until she eventually kills them.
Director: Steven C Miller
Cast: Lauren Holly, Lance Henriksen
Age Restriction: 16 – Violence
(Reviewed by Elisma Johl)
Scream of the Banshee starts off in a university basement where a professor (Lauren Holly) and her student team are archiving the inventory. After receiving a curious parcel they find a hidden room with a strange relic.
Upon opening the relic they discover a partially decomposing banshee head which soon comes to life and starts killing them all. Anyone who hears the banshee’s scream becomes haunted by her.
As the victims start dying off the survivors head off to find the people who placed the box and sent the parcel. This leads them to the original excavator (Lance Henriksen) who is as mad as a hatter and has an agenda of his own.
With a movie this bad you never really know where to begin. I can’t decide whether the horrible visual experience was as a result of low-budget filming or atrocious grading in post production. Probably both.
The production design was only marginally better. The designers focussed too much on certain details and seemed unaware that the smaller ones (like remembering that most people – especially medieval ones – don’t wear clothes fresh from the dry-cleaner) can completely mar the illusion.
Scream of the Banshee doesn’t get the bigger ones right either. Their horrid attempt at a banshee was certainly grotesque but not inspiring of fear. It’s so fake looking that it made suspension of disbelief virtually impossible.
Even the sound effects and compositions were awful, using every trick in the book, playing into every cliché and managing to completely avoid creating suspense. At the best moments they succeed to create a persistent discomfort – and that at how obvious, predictable and never-ending it was. If I could have reached out with my mind and muted it I would have.
The most horrifying thing about the movie is probably Lauren Holly’s face. Either this woman has not aged well or plastic surgery has been most unkind to her. I was so distracted by her unnatural and somehow uncomfortable appearance that it made her almost painful to watch.
The overall acting was so bad (the most irritating of which was probably the horrible attempts at archaeological Dictaphone narrations) that it was almost impossible to feel any connection to or empathy with the characters. When the acting is this bad one is forced to look at the director and wonder whether he too fell so far short in his job that he failed to bring anything forward in these actors.
But wait, there’s more. You don’t even want to get me started on the camera work – which was like something you would find in a student film. Too much unnecessary movement and panning, deliberate shaking (someone probably thought it was cool) and lighting that was so bad at times that if you survived the camera motion sickness you might end up having an epileptic fit.
Do yourself a favour and avoid this movie at all costs. Don’t even watch it out of morbid curiosity. I wouldn’t even recommend it to lower B-grade horror fans. It’s so bad that it isn’t even good for a laugh.