Christopher Smith’s “ The Banishing ” premiering today on Shudder after a brief fest run, has the stately style and tone of a classical period piece, but it’s also kind of insane.
It blends what one would expect from something like “The Haunting of Bly Manor”
(and there’s a dose of Mike Flanagan’s “Oculus” along the way too) with elements taken from
the giallo kitchen sink, and it all disappears in the British fog.
Despite a few strong production values and performances, Smith’s film simply crosses the lane into
incoherency and not the surreal David Lynch-esque kind of incoherency that sets a tone, but the
this-needed-a-better-edit-or-rewrite kind of incoherency that gets people wondering what else is on Shudder.
Like most movies about haunted houses nowadays, “The Banishing” is allegedly based on a real location, but this one is notoriously the most haunted of the haunted houses in England, Borley Rectory.
After a startling prologue that hints at a movie that doesn’t really follow—Smith has a habit of feinting
in one direction and then going in another, usually less interesting one—“The Banishing” introduces
the new vicar in town, a man named Linus (John Heffernan, doing almost nothing in terms of performance),
who has come to Borley with his new wife Marianne (Jessica Brown Findlay) and her daughter
Adelaide (Anya McKenna-Bruce).
Of course, it’s not long before ‘Addie’ (a name shouted roughly 400 times during the film) has made an imaginary friend and Marianne is hearing odd things in the middle of the night.
The bulk of “The Banishing” consists of Marianne facing the demons that have emerged from the tarnished history of Borley, and she meets a local psychic named Harry Price, who is played by Sean Harris as if he’s in an entirely different and superior film.
As he has in the past, Harris reaches for the kind of creepy register that could be called
unrealistic, but he understands that this movie needs that kind of jolt of odd energy to get
under the viewer’s skin. And thank God because too much of what’s around Harris is just flat and musty.
There are too many times when it feels like ดูหนังออนไลน์ “The Banishing” needed to go Full
Argento and Smith is too cautious a filmmaker to do so. It’s dull when it needed to be terrifyingly confrontational.