After Dark Originals’ Scream of the Banshee hit shelves yesterday, and for the first time in ages I felt genuinely compelled to invest 90 minutes in an After Dark project. In hindght I’m not convinced it was the wisest decion, though I’ll credit the film as one of the notoriously funky production company’s better offerings.
The story sees an archeology professor and a few of her pupils unearth an ancient box after being sent a strange glove that some unfortunate warrior lost in battle centuries ago. A little fumbling and the group manages to open the box, but it’s a mistake that triggers a series of brutal murders, as this relic holds the head of a long dormant banshee, eager to haunt the first to release the creature from its confines.
It’s a solid setup that showcases some nice creature effects, and gives viewers a chance to get a sound feel for the film’s focal characters in a very brief timespan. Unfortunately, the train derails within 40 minutes, leaving a lot to be dered while delivering little more than some good special effects and a pair of impresve performances from Lauren Holly and Todd Haberkorn.
There’s a wealth of potential on hand, but somehow, director Steven C. Miller and scribes Anthony C. Ferrante and Jacob Hair lose control of the tuation fast.
The pacing works well, and the story is decent, but there’s an element of intrigue that’s sorely missed. It’s entertaining seeing some nice practical effects, but unfortunately, they’re not strong enough to keep viewers truly tuned in; halfway through the picture I found myself asking one question, why am I still watching this? I suppose I finished the film just for the sake of this review, to be completely honest.
Honestly, it’s awkward as all hell, and near imposble to enjoy. What’s worse, it feels as though the filmmakers just wanted the opportunity to cast Henrickson, whether his character fit the continuity of the film or not. I believe (I stress the word believe) the idea behind the incluon of Duncan’s character was meant to act as a plot “twist”, but the attempt fails miserably, and only serves to dilute a pretty straight forward tale.
As I’ve noted, the practical effects are for the most part impresve, and Steven Miller was smart enough to keep the CGI extremely minimal, but the notion is made in vain, as the picture as a whole is a convoluted heap.
Relative newcomer Todd Haberkorn (who portrays student Otto) is the film’s saving grace. While Lauren Holly is enjoyable, it’s Haberkorn that provides the pictures only truly likeable character. For the most part, the remainder of the cast is expendable, as they’re little more than annoying filler.
There’s an obvious attempt at creating a quality horror offering, unfortunately, as is the case with the vast majority of After Dark films, the attempt fails on too many levels to count. I could continue on dissecting the picture, but it really doesn’t merit the time.