Seance [Blu-Ray] Director: Simon Barrett Cast: Suki Waterhouse, Madisen Beaty, Ella-Rae Smith Release Date: August 3, 2021 A Review By: Kevin Lovell Film Rating: 6.5/10 Disc Rating: 7.5/10 Synopsis: In […]
Director: Simon Barrett
Cast: Suki Waterhouse, Madisen Beaty, Ella-Rae Smith
Release Date: August 3, 2021
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 6.5/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
In SEANCE, Camille Meadows is the new girl at the prestigious Edelvine Academy for Girls. Soon after her arrival, six girls invite her to join them in a late-night ritual, calling forth the spirit of a dead former student who reportedly haunts their halls. But before morning, one of the girls is dead, leaving the others wondering what they may have awakened.
Please Note: RLJE Films provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘Séance’ joins Camille Meadows, the new girl at the prestigious Edelvine Academy for Girls who is granted admission after a tragic prank gone wrong leaves a student dead and a spot open. But Camille soon begins to realize that there is something strange and possibly sinister occurring at the school after more students die in supposed accidents and eerie occurrences begin plaguing the grounds. Joining a group of somewhat stuck-up students, the girls attempt to find the truth about what’s really going on while each trying not to end up the next victim.
Written and directed by Simon Barrett (writer of ‘The Guest’, ‘You’re Next’, ‘Blair Witch‘) who does a great job at the helm of ‘Séance’ taking full advantage of everything at his disposal and making this smaller horror outing into something far superior than what it could have been in other hands. The film also benefits from a mostly capable, yet limited cast including Suki Waterhouse (The Broken Hearts Gallery), Madisen Beaty (Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood), Ella-Rae Smith (TV’s Into the Badlands), Inanna Sarkis (After We Collided), Seamus Patterson (Books of Blood) and Marina Stephenson-Kerr (Cult of Chucky) along with a few more, the majority each offering pretty solid if not at least fitting performances for the most part in their respective roles.
‘Séance’ is an enjoyable and at times fairly clever horror film that merges elements of typical slasher films with supernatural aspects and a mystery at its core that should easily hold your attention throughout without any trouble. The storyline may not be magnificent every step of the way and some of the moments were less surprising than seemingly intended but it’s still a more than decent horror film that does an impressive job of wisely utilizing its limited options, cast and setting in the best way possible in order to create a fun and eerie atmosphere throughout.
It may not have received a huge release but it’s definitely a film I had been looking forward to since first hearing about it a year or two back. I’ve been a fan of Simon Barrett’s work for some time; with Barrett and frequent collaborator Adam Wingard initially catching my attention with their 2010 film ‘A Horrible Way to Die’ which I caught at home and my love of their unique work only increased when I caught ‘You’re Next’ and ‘The Guest’ in theaters, therefore I was quite excited to see what Barrett might be capable of when taking on the task of director in addition to his usual role of screenwriter. ‘Séance’ may not be his most impressive work, but Barrett does bring a welcome flair to the film on both ends of his work behind the scenes and even with an incredibly limited cast and setting, he does a pretty great job of building it into something quite solid and professional looking thanks to his clever choices in shooting styles and approach, and the mostly capable cast only helps things to move alone smoothly for the most part.
Overall, ‘Séance’ is a fun and well-crafted hybrid of slasher and ghost story that keeps things engaging throughout while serving up some fun moments and kills along with a collection of characters many of which you end up liking far more than you’d expect based upon their initial introductions. ‘Séance’ is recommended for genre fans and any horror fans out there that enjoy a decent slasher, ghost story or both, as well as fans of Simon Barrett’s work in general. It may not be perfect, but it does an impressive job of delivering a more than decent horror film that continually looks great despite its budget which I doubt was very extravagant. It may not be something everyone will want to drop money on for a blind purchase, but it should at least be worth your time and the cost of a rental unless you want to wait for it to eventually arrive on a streaming service such as Shudder.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Seance’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty great altogether and offers a smooth, sharp and nicely detailed presentation from start to finish without any unexpected problems to be uncovered along the way. It holds up competently even during the numerous darkly lit moments (of which there are quite a few) and never results in anything that’s occurring onscreen becoming negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a pretty wonderful high definition video presentation from RLJE Films that shouldn’t disappoint fans or first time viewers.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack nicely compliments the onscreen tension and uncertainty and provides a clean, crisp and occasionally somewhat aggressive audio presentation throughout. It regularly takes advantage of all five available channels in order to send the score, along with some eerie noises, bits of dialogue and more throughout the various speakers at every fitting opportunity; all while never causing any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that never falters and delivers quite capably in every way required of it.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Seance’ includes a number of nice extras that fans should enjoy. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Simon Barrett’, along with a handful of ‘Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by Barrett’ (running approximately 5 minutes in length altogether) and some ‘Outtakes’ (running approximately 2 minutes). Also included on the release is a look at bringing the film to life in ‘Behind the Scenes of Séance’ which features interviews/comments with members of the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more (approximately 18 minutes). A silly yet amusing ‘Decapitation Pre-Viz’ video (20 seconds) and a ‘Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery’ are also included.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 6.5/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Simon Barrett’s ‘Séance’ is Now Available to Own on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from SHUDDER – RLJE Films
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