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RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes
- Lionsgate Trailer Reel
- Commentary Track with the Director and Composer
SYFY Exec #1: We’ve done Megasharks and Octopus monsters and Abominable Snowmen and a Zombie Hitler and just about every creature mash-up we can think of. What should we do next?
SYFY Exec #2: What about a motherfucking Irish Banshee, yo?
SYFY Exec #1: How would we make that scary?
SYFY Exec #2: People covering their ears and shit when it screams.
SYFY Exec #1: I like the cut of your jib, sir. Get Henriksen on the phone. We’re making a movie!
Written by Anthony C. Ferrante. Directed by Steven C. Miller. Acted by Lauren Holly, Marcelle Baer, Todd Habercorn, Leanna Cochran, Garrett Hines and Lance Henriksen.
Lauren Holly plays Isla Whelan, an anthropologist hired to clear out the relics in the basement of some random college. Later, Whelan and her team discover a false wall containing an ancient box and then receive a mysterious package containing a medieval plate mail gauntlet. Naturally, they use the gauntlet to open the box and find inside the severed head of an 800 year old Irish Banshee. Intense covering of the ears ensue.
I didn’t like this movie. Not at all. There’s not much to like. The special effects are terrible and Lauren Holly is on autopilot when she’s not struggling to get her dialogue out through her surgically stultified face. My man Lance Henriksen shows up in the last 10 minutes of the movie rocking a wicked southern accent and a bad case of the “What the Fuck Am I Doing Here’s”. Seriously, instead of reviewing the movie I just want to write out a list of the things that didn’t work and why this movie should be avoided like Tyler Perry’s balls. But then I listened to some of the commentary track and learned that they made it in 12 days. 12 days. That’s pretty amazing and makes the things that don’t work seem almost miraculous in comparison to what it could have been. It doesn’t excuse the script or some of the performances, but I’ve got to hand it to Steven C. Miller that he probably directed the best movie he could in the amount of time he had to do it. It still isn’t a good movie, though.
Hearing that this was shot in 12 days got me thinking about who to blame for the atrocity that is most of the movie. Like I said earlier, I think Steven C. Miller probably did the best he could with what he was given and hearing about the endless nightmares they had over the 12 days of shooting makes it even more impressive the film was even completed. The commentary track is pretty self congratulatory and a little bit deluded in terms of how cool they think the movie is and how much of it they think works, but hell, they shot a fucking 90 minute movie with Lance Henriksen and Lauren Holly in it in 12 days. I’d be fucking ecstatic if I did that and probably wouldn’t be able to see the the true nature of my project, either.
The writer (Anthony C. Ferrante) has written and even directed some other low budget horror that really had a spirit of fun to them and were much more entertaining to watch than this (movies like Boo and, to a lesser extent, House of Bones). It truly seems like there was a hat full of monsters he had to choose from and “Banshee” was the one that got snagged. Oh, I’m sorry, it’s actually an Irish Banshee from Limerick City, Ireland (which I thought was a made up place until doing a little research on the Wikipedia). The Banshee idea is half baked and fully ridiculous as the make up effects are incredibly inconsistent, the creature is never, ever scary and the Banshee can only hurt you if you scream. Even if you’re scared shitless (literally, as in all of the shit has left you and is now pooling around your ankles and toes), you can stop yourself from screaming if you know that it’s going to kill you. Fuck, even if you have no control over your screaming, all anyone has to do is duct tape their mouths shut and the evil Banshee is rendered powerless. All those innocent lives lost for want of duct tape. I don’t know if a better script could have saved the movie but it couldn’t have hurt it, that’s for damn sure. Maybe Ferrante should have wrote those motherfuckers in some duct tape.
I was giving Lauren Holly shit earlier, but she does seem to be putting in some work. I’ve seen much worse lead performances from much more famous people in much worse movies than this. Well, maybe not much worse. Holly’s a bit sleepy and is suffering from Madeleine Stowe Face a little (Madeleine Stowe Face is when a smile, a grimace and rage all look the same due to the botox and collagen not giving you full control of the musculature in your face), but she’s still fun to look at and brings back fond memories of Picket Fences. She made that deputy uniform confuse me about my feelings for cops for years to come. The supporting cast is hit or miss and none of them leave enough of an impression for me to comment one way or another except for that one of the actors last name is Habercorn. Habercorn. I will say Henricksen does seem to be having fun in this, but his character is so superfluous that I just ended up hoping he never watches the movie, although maybe the craft services he got paid was worth it. The cast isn’t great but they mostly all seem to be trying, so I’m not going to place the blame for the movie on them.
I think the moment I knew this movie was going to suck was when, in the opening credits, it said “a SyFy Channel Original Movie.” Let’s lay all blame for this film at their feet. We’ve seen their movies and we know they’re all rushed out the door with half finished effects and ADR that sounds like it was recorded by different actors of the opposite sex in an Eastern European sex carnival. Scream of the Banshee has some issues that should have stopped it from ever getting released. At one point there’s a guy running for several seconds and you can see the wire attached to him plain as day for several frames. If SyFy gave a shit about their brand then this movie never would have been released as is and they would allow the filmmakers something a little more substantial than 12 days to shoot. I know schedules are tight and not everything is as easy as I think it should be, but it shouldn’t be that hard either. Make low budget horror movies, SyFy Channel because, truthfully, I love a few of them, but don’t pinch the pennies so tight that quality product becomes impossible to produce. Aim for the stars, not rectal polyps.
The transfer is really grainy and looks like shit. I have no idea if they shot it to look that way or if it all went to hell in the coding. The commentary is fascinating and incredibly enlightening for those of us working on our own low budget horror movies. I wish these filmmakers luck in all their future endeavors, but they should quit focusing on this one as soon as possible.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars