Banshee!!! DVD Review
I swooned at Tromeo & Juliet and will always associate Peter Jackson with Feebles before Hobbits. Clearly, I am not someone who needs a movie to be good in order for me to enjoy it. But for a bad movie to be good, it needs something that really shines. Great special effects, actors with their own weird charm, self aware humor; it can be anything but the point is there has to be something. Banshee has none of that. It combined static, one dimensional characters being played by bad actors with shoddy production value being passed off as psychedelic filmmaking. There obviously was a miniscule budget and they just tried to work with what they had, which I totally respect. But unfortunately, they sucked at it and the movie is just terrible.
Maybe I expected too much from Banshee, since it didn’t even bother to come up with an original monster. I had hoped for characters with a little imagination or some sort of twist on the banshee legend. Whoever the screenwriters were though, obviously didn’t consider those things a priority. There really wasn’t even any sort of plot for me to tell you about. Some kids are on Spring Break and there’s some mountain family with a lot of guns that happen to stumble upon each other in the woods when a banshee starts eating members of their respective parties. There isn’t much more to it than that really, other than a police woman who doesn’t believe them and therefore won’t help.
But let’s get to what should be the most important element of the film: the freaking banshee. It would seem to me that anyone who has seen a monster movie would know you’ve got to invest in the monster. It wouldn’t have mattered how much of a magnificent badass Ellen Ripley was if there weren’t Facehuggers and acid blood to deal with. But Banshee was already giving filmmaking the finger, so why stop with the monster the whole movie is based around, right? They opted for shape shifting abilities but never gave you a clear shot of it happening (which begs the question, why have it in there at all?) and kept their creature creativity limited to wings on a bad copy of the devil dogs from Ghostbusters. I’ve seen better CGI in episodes of Lost, which I don’t even watch.
It was also obviously not within budget to have decent gore effects or actors with a shred of talent, so the filmmakers decided to get creative with camera work and editing. This would have been fine had they shown any semblance of restraint with it. More than once, I felt certain that Banshee was made by newly minted and overzealous film students. If a scene took place in a bar, it would have to either start or end with a shot glass sliding down the bar towards us, despite none of the characters drinking a drop of liquor. But the real tragedy is, when all this nonsense was combined with the shitty CGI, it brought even more attention to both. The whole thing was like a cartoon that thought if it just believed hard enough, it would be a real movie.
There is one thing that kept this movie from being a total bust for me though and that is a small cameo by one of my favorite YouTube personalities, Shawn C Phillips. His YouTube channel (coolduder) is loaded with a lot of crap (like his comedy show that isn’t much more than an unfunny parody of Wayne’s World) but it does feature reviews from his staggering DVD collection that are gold. Seriously, you want to see this kid and be shocked at how deeply he has buried himself into his love of movies. So while this isn’t going to save the film for you, particularly if you have no idea who Shawn C Phillips is, Banshee can suck a little less if you take the time to acquaint yourself with one of the coolest “that guys” the internet has to offer.