SEANCE is a new horror movie that feels like something you’ve seen before. Many times before! Instead of feeling like a tribute or homage, it just plays out in a predictable way. A shame really. Especially because I expected more from Simon Barrett. Read our full Séance movie review here!
SEANCE is a new horror movie that turned out to be one of the biggest disappointments in a while. The real rating is probably 1½ but I couldn’t give a rating of just one to someone who has written awesome screenplays in the past.
While I usually find his work to be entertaining and sometimes even kitsch, Seance just feels like something you’ve already watched. And not in any good way. I know it’s meant to be a tribute or homage to the movies, he grew up loving, but I just cannot feel any passion or love for the genre in this movie. It’s such a damn shame and I expected a lot more!
Continue reading our Seance movie review below and find it on Shudder in the near future (after its theatrical release).
Been there, seen that
Admittedly, I was very disappointed with this movie. It’s on par with watching Spiral which I’d actually say is the better movie of the two. Something I would have never expected to say!
It’s just that the whole premise of Seance sucks. Even the effects are tired and old. Not classic in a throw-back way but just come across as lazy. The characters are grotesquely stereotyped like an all-girls school version of the Spice Girls.
Everything from the lines spoken to the events about to unfold is predictable in ways I would never have imagined. So much is easily guessed in advance which is not what you want from a movie in the horror and mystery genres!
Familiar names in the cast
While I am very familiar with the names of many actors in the cast, I’m not that familiar with their work. A few of them have a bit of an “It girl” quality where they’re famous from social media or gossip rags than their work. That’s not to say that they’re not good actors, but Seance definitely isn’t the movie to show off their acting skills.
Only Ella-Rae Smith (The Stranger) gets away with making her character, Helina, feel like a “real” person. Suki Waterhouse (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) plays Camille, who arrives at the school when another girl dies. She’s a real tough girl who doesn’t care one bit that a group of “Mean Girls” expect her to just fall in line. She’s her own person and immediately starts a fight with the queen bee.
Fair enough, I can appreciate that. The scene where this plays out is just full of cringe-worthy lines!
And then there’s the character played by Madisen Beaty (The Clovehitch Killer). Her name is Bethany and she wears glasses so obviously, she’s the smart one. In fact, she looks like the British scientist wrestler “Britannica” in the Netflix series GLOW. Having seen Madisen Beaty in several other roles, I know she is so much better than this would have you believe.
Watch Seance in theaters or On-Demand before its Shudder release later
Simon Barrett is the writer and director of Seance, which is why I was looking forward to watching this horror movie. I mean, sure, it sounds like a tired old trope of a plot. But since it’s by Simon Barrett, who wrote You’re Next (2011) which I adore. I love just about everything he’s done with Adam Wingard directing, so I figured this would be something new or somehow different.
It’s not. It is actually just the tired old trope it sounds like in the plot.
In fact, it’s not even a good or interesting version of this “classic” story. It feels like some sort of teenage boy fantasy of how an all-girls school works. Right down to the ballet scenes. There’s an old saying of “write what you know” and the story in Seance seems to be far from anything Simon Barrett knows.
This is the feature film debut for Simon Barrett as a director and that’s just plain sad. He is so much better than this movie would have you believe. If only a more campy approach had been used, it would have worked so much better. Instead, we get a story that is overly predictable – right down to the final action of our main protagonist.
SEANCE is out in theaters, On Demand, and Digital on May 21, 2021. It will also be out on Shudder on September 29, 2021.
Director: Simon Barrett
Writer: Simon Barrett
Stars: Suki Waterhouse, Madisen Beaty, Ella-Rae Smith, Inanna Sarkis, Seamus Patterson, Marina Stephenson-Kerr
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.