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Affiliated more for his penmanship among the mumblegore movement, especially alongside Director Adam Wingard’s You’re Next, Simon Barrett has been slowly etching his way to his own turn behind the camera calling the shots.

His opportunity arises in Shudder’s latest Exclusive and Original feature Seance.

Barrett’s name alone gets me excited to see what he would produce when in charge of the lens and I’m happy to say that I wasn’t disappointed.

There are familiar elements at play here, with the kick-ass action sequences that come from the unexpected, plus the spiritual component that was drawn in Temple.     

That isn’t to say that Seance doesn’t carve its own narrative for the audience to be lured by.

The tale that is woven centers on a Girls Boarding school, Edevine Academy for Girls, following the mysterious death of one of the school girls when a prank goes wrong. But is there more to play beneath the disciplined exterior of the prestigious learning facility?

Newcomer Camille Meadows certainly suspects that this could be the case when confronted by a not-so warm welcome from some of the other girls and an even frostier reception from something or someone that haunts her room each night.

Have the girls stirred something from beyond when they practice a seance to get in touch with the girl who died? Is there something more untoward? Camille must navigate her new terrain and take on the role of sleuth, to uncover the truth and potentially face a haunting prospect that pushes her to the brink of the living world.

The Diagnosis:

Barrett generates a familiar plot but manages to weave it with a level of cool and panache that marks Seance with its own identity.

It helps that the actors on show are engaging and provide a little more than the two-dimensional tropes that we often expect on screen. Notably Suki Waterhouse’s (Assassination Nation) whose Camille shows levels of vulnerability and hardship throughout the film, coupled with the notion that nothing and no one are who or what they seem to be.
Plus Tobias Vethake’s score is truly captivating, ensnaring you into the celluloid world with ease, adding to the depth of the film.

Roll on Barrett’s next feature, a stepping stone into expanding the VHS franchise with V/H/S 94.

  • Saul Muerte

Seance is currently streaming on Shudder from Thursday, September 30th.