The Banishing: Movie Review

"The Banishing" had a lot of cool ideas littered throughout its runtime. Unfortunately, the film fails to develop these ideas and literally barely scratches the surface when it came to its horror and its narrative. While it had the atmosphere and cinematography to hook you in, we cannot deny that this was a slow and boring film overall.
Three years ago, a reverend murders his family and kills himself inside the Borley Rectory. The horrifying event and history of the house are kept secret from a new reverend (John Heffernan) who, as the same family before, brings his wife (Jessica Brown Findlay) and her child with him. Soon, paranormal encounters occur targeting each family member with horrific visions in tow. With an unknown entity manipulating them endlessly, the family decides to seek the help of a famous occultist (Sean Harris) before it is all too late.
Visually, "The Banishing" can easily compete with any horror period piece out there. The film is set in the 1930s and the house where the film is set in inspired by one of the most haunted houses in England before. In that regard, the film sets up its horrific and terrifying potential quite well. With cinematography, production, sets, and even costumes that came off as authentic to the time, the atmosphere works well to put your mindset to that particular point in time. But while "The Banishing" was mostly a visual feast, it severely lacked scares. We could count with our fingers the number of times we were truly terrified - most of which came from sudden and quick cuts of disturbing images. Even in its most intimate moments, the film just fails to build the tension and fear time and time again. Likewise, we had the same experience with its story. Since this is the 1930s, it's expected that the topic will revolve around Nazis and the risk of a deadly World War from re-occuring. The film shoddily shoves these elements into its narrative making its overall message, revealed by the end of the film, a muddled, unexpected, and ultimately an unsatisfying revelation. Same for the true nature of the entities that haunt the family, some elements work but some were hastily put together. As for the acting, we found Jessica Brown Findlay with an adequate performance as the film's lead. Sean Harris as Harry Price was comical at best. Overall, "The Banishing" had a lot of secrets that it wanted to tell its audience but there's this sinking feeling that most of these secrets were put together just to increase its scare count completely forgetting that it needed to weave a convincing experience instead.
Rating: 2 reels

Why you should watch it:
- great cinematography and acting from its lead cast

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the narrative and horror are under-developed

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