Dir. Simon Barrett
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
Simon Barrett is no stranger to great horror having written YOU'RE NEXT, THE GUEST and BLAIR WITCH but finally gets in the directors seat for SEANCE, a blend of 90s college slasher and 70s suspense. On the surface, this is a typical conjuring story however it soon becomes apparent that all is not as it seems and as the film develops, the truth behind a number of murders comes to light.
Reminiscent of the best 90s slashers, SEANCE is a well crafted dream and would make a perfect companion film to THE CRAFT with its strong female leads and a powerhouse performance from Suki Waterhouse who owns ever bit of screen presence.
From the pastel lens to the soundtrack there's a sense of nostalgia throughout and as the murders increase, so too does the level of visual pleasantries on offer. There are a few fist pumping moments and those looking for a good shock are in for a treat as Barrett doesn't stray away from bringing blood to a film that is centres on teen drama.
The film balances the nuances of drama and horror extremely well and at times you are transported to an era of suspenseful horror like ROSEMARY'S BABY or THE SENTINEL and in the next scene it's moved to the kind of college shenanigans that made URBAN LEGEND and I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER such iconic classics. Yet amidst the similarities of a bygone era, SEANCE stands tall as a modern classic of it's own thanks to a believable and never out stretched story of murder and revenge.
SEANCE is worlds apart from this years V/H/S/94 which sees Barrett's segment (while one of the highlights) shows a completely different take on horror but there's still plenty of splashes of violence to remind you of his penchant for the red stuff is still here and it's a beauty. All behind a lens that is muted with pastel shades that never gets brighter than when there's a neck slice or splash of blood across a mirror, all contrasting with the feeling that SEANCE is timeless if it were not for the killer the soundtrack that is modern yet not too overstated as to remind you it's 2021. Indie songs scatter the airwaves and a beautifully shot scene in a dance hall is straight out of a 90s slasher yet intermittent with a dark yet sorrow score from relative unknown artist, Sicker Man (aka Tobias Vethake).
At its core, SEANCE is a slasher film of the finest form, BLACK CHRISTMAS meets THE CRAFT, blending great chemistry, bloody violence and plenty of charm but has little to connect to its title which may throw some viewers.