Having a seance as the backdrop for a new horror movie didn’t really grab my attention. What did though, was Simon Barrett’s name attached as writer-director. Two insanely solid horror movies, The Guest and You’re Next under his belt. Not to mention having written for the anthology V/H/S. Shut up and take my money, yes, I want whatever you’re making. So here we are, with Séance (see below for release details.) A teen-centric, slasher set in an Academy that begins with a dorm room prank gone wrong. You simply can’t get any more generic than that. Fortunately, Seance brings all the extra you could want in a horror film and the result is a highly entertaining and interesting story that is worth watching.
Same old school bullies, same old dark secrets, and long history of scary hauntings. But what sets “Séance” apart is the introduction of an outsider. Camile is played by Suki Waterhouse who I think has the same sullen pan faced demeanor as Kristen Stewart. I like them both in a teen-angst kind of way. Cool but suitable for a role like this. As soon as she turns up, the grey area between the bullies being behind the death of Kerrie or whether there are mysterious forces at play is perfect for those that like to be kept in the dark. There are just enough red herrings to make you think you have it all worked out before the film sets off in a different direction.
All Female Cast
The rest of the cast is another all-female ensemble with the exception of a maintenance guy that comes to fix the faulty lighting. Performances are all good which is exactly what you need in a slasher film like this. Gore is fairly light compared with something like say, the Slasher TV Series. Housed by a typical but enjoyable 80s ambiance score, my enjoyment of Séance lies purely in the fact that I enjoy this type of format in my horror movies. With the slasher sub-genre being totally saturated, the good ones really stand out and for Mother of Movies, Séance is one of them. A popcorn flick to be sure, but nonetheless not the worst 90-minutes I’ve spent in front of the black mirror in 2021.
Lights flicker, floorboards creak and there is just enough atmospheric creepiness. Perhaps if you’re susceptible to that sort of thing, the little hairs on your arms might stand up. I had my assumptions about who Camile might be, but the writers added enough elements to the mix that the end result was quite satisfying.
Séance premieres on Shudder on September 29th, 2021.
Written and directed by Simon Barrett (You’re Next, The Guest).
Starring Suki Waterhouse (Assassination Nation), Madisen Beaty (Once Upon a
Time… In Hollywood), Ella-Rae Smith (Into the Badlands), Inanna Sarkis (After Franchise), Seamus Patterson (Channel Zero), and Marina Stephenson-Kerr (Channel Zero.)
Produced by Dark Castle Entertainment / Distributed by Shudder and RJLE Films.
Seen Seance and hated it? Maybe you’d prefer this review from The Detroit News.