Seance movie review a smart and twisty horror movie – Assignment X


Posted: May 20th, 2021 / 06:36 AM

SEANCE movie poster | 2021 RLJE Films/Shudder

Rating: RStars: Suki Waterhouse, Ella-Rae Smith, Madisen Beaty, Inanna Sarkis, Seamus Patterson, Stephanie Sy, Djouliet Amara, Jade Michael, Megan Best, Marina Stephenson KerrWriter: Simon BarrettDirector: Simon BarrettDistributor: RLJE Films/ShudderRelease Date: May 21, 2021

SANCE is a twisty, fun horror film set at an all-girls prep school. At first, it seems to be dealing in one set of staples, then in another, and then well, part of the enjoyment here is in guessing the explanations before theyre revealed.

At the prestigious Edelvine Academy, everyone has heard the story of the Edelvine Ghost. Years earlier, a student was found dead in the school bathroom, having slit her wrists.

Alice (Inanna Sarkis), leader of the meanest clique in the seniors group, arranges a sance in the bathroom at what is said to be the time of night when the deceased students heart stopped beating.

The school legend goes that, if a ritual is performed, the ghost will appear and kill her summoners. As one character later observes, no one knew if this was true or not because nobody would be stupid enough to oh.

Skeptic Kerrie (Megan Best) is annoyed by the whole business. She retreats to her room and then is heard screaming. When her classmates rush into her room, it appears that she has leapt to her death from the window or did the ghost kill her?

Whatever has happened, Kerries death leaves an opening in the school roster. Enter top-of-the-waiting-list senior Camille Meadows (Suki Waterhouse).

This is where we start to feel that Simon Barrett, an experienced horror screenwriter making his full-length feature directorial debut, has something new to offer. Suffice to say that Camille is unlike most new girl/final girl leads in the genre. Were completely on Camilles side, but we fear less for her and more for anything or anyone who imagines her to be an easy target.

Theres a lot of pleasing subgenre zigzagging in SANCE. We get improvised Ouija boards, a theatre department, ballet (shades of SUSPIRIA), academic intrigue, and multiple back stories.

It doesnt entirely matter how quickly we deduce what may be coming next, because theres always another wrinkle after that. Waterhouse gives a powerful performance, and she gets adept support from the rest of the cast.

Barrett knows where and where not to put the camera. Gore gags are brief, but effective. For those with proper audio equipment, or even respectable headphones, theres also uncommonly good directional sound on the production. If something is meant to be moving on our left, thats where well hear it, versus having it all around.

SANCE is the kind of horror movie that honors its predecessors, but still finds something novel to do with itself. It leaves viewers in good spirits.

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Seance movie review a smart and twisty horror movie - Assignment X

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