A BANQUET is a new horror movie from IFC Midnight. It’s also dubbed a “psychodrama” which might draw in more viewers. For horror fans, this plays out as a delicious psychological horror thriller. Read our full A Banquet horror movie review here!

A BANQUET is a new horror movie that should get under your skin fairly early on. Released by IFC Midnight, you know the production quality is top-notch, Fortunately, so is the actual content.

It might be labeled as a “psychodrama” in some PR material. On IMDb, however, it simply has “horror” as the only official genre. Calling it a psychological horror-thriller is probably the most accurate description. I would say it’s slow-burn, but things do escalate fairly quickly in this plot.

Continue reading our A Banquet movie review below.

Familiar yet very new

You’ll probably be both shocked and amazed throughout A Banquet while also feeling that it’s strangely familiar. Not the actual storyline, mind you, but the struggles between parents and determined teenagers.

The storyline itself does feel very new and fresh. All while reminding me in tone and style of Saint Maud. Now that is just about the highest form of compliment because I adored that movie.


The brilliant movie Saint Maud which won over critics and audiences worldwide >

Aside from having a strong story and a very capable director at the helm, the cast of A Banquet is what makes it all work.

A Banquet – Review | IFC Psychodrama

So many strong performances

Every character in A Banquet comes with its own set of challenges and strengths. What makes the story work is the fact that the actor in each role manages to pull out exactly all of these challenges and strengths at the perfect moment.

Sienna Guillory (Jill Valentine in several Resident Evil movies) plays Holly, who is the mother of two teen daughters. She has to show both love and strength while clearly battling many of her own demons. Her oldest daughter, Betsey, suddenly stops eating, which absolutely breaks Holly.

Mostly because she also sees so much of herself in Betsey.

Strangely, Betsey does not lose weight despite not eating anything. At all. Betsey is portrayed by Jessica Alexander (Glasshouse), who also manages to show a very real and believable person. Despite the circumstances being exceedingly strange.

The relationship between mother and daughter seems quite sick at times. There’s love there but also gross misunderstandings and a need for control.

Watch A Banquet in theaters, at home, or later on Shudder!

Ruth Paxton is the director of A Banquet and she has definitely managed to hit that perfectly creepy and eerie vibe necessary for the storyline. This is the feature film debut for Ruth Paxton, after having directed more than a handful of short films. And what a debut! You won’t forget this one after the end credits are over.

The screenplay for A Banquet was written by Justin Bull, who already has another screenplay currently in post-production. That one will be a new drama-thriller. Well, a drama-thriller that has a plot revolving around a “supernatural entity”, so it does sound a bit like sci-fi as well.

Whatever the genre, I’m ready to check it out based on the storyline of this current horror movie. Of course, the next movie, titled Little Rituals, has a different director than Ruth Paxton, so that will also be interesting. To see how a script from Justin Bull is interpreted by another director, I mean.

A BANQUET opens in Select Theaters, on Digital Platforms, and on VOD on February 18, 2022. It will also be added to Shudder on May 26, 2022.


Director: Ruth Paxton
Writer: Justin Bull
Stars: Sienna Guillory, Jessica Alexander, Ruby Stokes, Lindsay Duncan


Widowed mother Holly (Sienna Guillory) is radically tested when her teenage daughter Betsey (Jessica Alexander) experiences a profound enlightenment and insists that her body is no longer her own, but in service to a higher power. Bound to her newfound faith, Betsey refuses to eat but loses no weight. In an agonizing dilemma, torn between love and fear, Holly is forced to confront the boundaries of her own beliefs.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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