[DVD Review] ‘Banshee Chapter’ Has Disturbing Thrills

7-Banshee-Chapter

If you recall my review, I very much enjoyed Banshee Chapter. Written and directed by Blair Erickson, the film is a new interpretation of H.P. Lovecraft’s story, “From Beyond”, complete with its own twists.

The story is based around an experimental (fictional) drug – dimethyltryptamine-19 – which has been part of government studies under the (non-fictional) human research operation, Project MKUltra. Like the Lovecraft story, the drug is turning the human brain into a receiver for otherworldly beings. This is combined with radio transmissions, again real phenomena, consisting of a non-human voice (sometimes childlike) reading series of letters and numbers.

The combination of the two unsettling concepts makes up an hour and a half of eerie entertainment. Banshee Chapter is simply unsettling. It is not over the top with effects, and it doesn’t need to be. Brief glimpses of monstrous beings, along with the simple sound of radio static being cut out by a voice, is enough the create the right classic horror atmosphere.

The film is being released on DVD (and possibly 3D Blu-ray, though I am having a hard time confirming this) and includes some extras along with a trailer. The special features are not extravagant, but it is nice to get a bit more in depth in what went into creating the movie. “What is the Banshee Chapter?” simply covers exactly as the title states, with cast and crew discussing the development of the story. Director Blair Erickson discusses the difficultly in taking his story, the way it plays in his mind, and actually transferring that into the filming process. “Directing Banshee Chapter” is probably my favorite extra on the disc because of this simple challenge Erickson describes. Having written a handful of my own stories and scripts, I have always wondered if it would be a true feat to transfer those ideas to film. “The History Behind Banshee Chapter” gives more in-depth information about the basis for the story. This piece could have been an hour long documentary, so what is included is concise.

However, the “Banshee Chapter Shooting in 3D” is probably the most disappointing only because the film is not available in the discussed medium. Owning a 3D television, I was very much looking forward to being able to review the 3D Blu-ray, however, from what I see, I still cannot confirm it will be available in this format. In all honestly, the film doesn’t need the 3D gimmick. Banshee Chapter, in its simplicity alone, offers plenty of disturbing thrills.