Marianne (Jessican Brown Findlay) has been married to Linus (John Heffernan) for a short time after he agreed to take her in and her daughter, Adelaide (Anya McKenna-Bruce) and they’ve just moved in to a new home. A home where Linus will be leading the local Catholic parish in his role as the local priest.
There was a rather large stigma about unmarried women with children at the time and although Marianne is thankful, there are people including Father Malachi (John Lynch) who thinks that she should be more than grateful of her privileged position.
War is on the horizon, so tensions are rising and the arrival of a strange man named Harry Price (Sean Harris) doesn’t make things better. Especially when he tells Linus about the curse that bestows the house and how the previous owner met a grisly end. Linus and Marianne ignore his warnings, but soon Marianne starts to experience hallucinations and Adelaide’s behaviour starts to concern her. Not to mention the threat of hooded figures that are seen around the grounds of the house.
The Banishing is a supernatural pre-war horror movie exclusively on Shudder. Probably taking inspiration from the recent success of Netflix’s Haunting of… series, The Banishing sets the tone for a creepy, atmospheric ghost story. However, the problem is that it seems like it has a lot of ideas and has put them all in at once.
Madeleine is a suitably creepy child who plays with spooky looking dolls and talks to apparitions that Marianne cannot see. There’s talk about the house being cursed and many of the locals become frightened when there’s mention of the new family living there.
There’s even a suggestion of a demonic cult by way of the dolls that Madeleine plays with, although none of these suggestions ever really lead anywhere.
The cast all do well with a somewhat cliched script and a muddled plot, but in the end The Banishing raises a lot of questions, but doesn’t give any satisfactory answers. There’s also a lot of subtext to things the characters say and do and it frustratingly never deals with them properly either. A well-made production with a good cast, just a pale imitation of something that could have been more fulfilling.
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