Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Hmm…. So After Dark films is providing us with a new distributor of Sci-Fi Channel originals starting with ‘Husk’ which had some challenges but was still a very competent horror film outing, followed up with ‘Area 51’ which we here at the FCU actually enjoyed. Today we have the third After Dark / Sci-Fi Channel original ‘Scream of the Banshee’ and if Sci-Fi originals were a debilitating addiction with ‘Husk’ and ‘Area 51’ being part of the recovery process then I believe ‘Scream of the Banshee’ would be something along the lines of ‘backsliding’. I believe that’s the term.

About 800 hundred years ago in Ireland we see some dude forging himself some quality Hanzo Steel and a pimped out shield. Next time we see this guy he and his two sidekicks are on their barded steeds chasing down Red Riding when my man flings his steel and stabs her. We would imagine this hottie to be dead, but not so fast my friends as this dude dispatches his two sidekicks to check on her. First off, that’s kind of a dick move considering he knows full well she’s not dead since she’s the banshee and stuff and when those guys get killed… that’s just not cool. Regardless he flings his pimped out shield at the banshee, which he could’ve done from the word jump and saved his buddies, and traps its head within this shield / box for all eternity, or for the next ten minutes… whichever comes first.

Fast forward to the present day. Hard working archeologist Isla Whelan (Lauren Holly) is cataloging some artifacts for her University when she runs across an odd gauntlet with a map attached to it. The map leads Isla, her two assistants Janey (Leanne Cochrane) and Otto (Todd Haberkorn) and Isla’s bratty adult daughter Shayla (Marcella Baer) to a hidden room at the school holding a mysterious box. We in the audience know it’s the box holding the Banshee head. They investigate the box and notice it’s vibrating and damn if it doesn’t sound like its breathing. At this point does it make ANY sense to try and open it? Of course it doesn’t. They figure out how to open it, they see the horrific banshee head which promptly opens its eyes and its mouth, lets out a horrific banshee scream causing everyone’s ears to bleed, including Sioux the Black security guard. Guess who’s the first one to go? Then it blows up. Banshee juice is everywhere.

Now everybody is infected with the scream of the Banshee which results in all kinds of horrific mental nightmares. Eventually they figure out that anyone who hears the scream will become infected so why not play the scream for everyone they run across? Sounds like a plan. At least Otto the Metro has figured out that you are safe from the banshee if you don’t scream, not that anybody followed that advice. Somehow this all leads to a nutty doomsday soothsayer named Duncan, played by the legendary Lance Henriksen, who they need to tell them how to capture the Banshee, even though I think they already know how to capture the Banshee. Some other strange stuff happens before the thrilling conclusion including the death of the bratty adult daughter’s goth boyfriend in a true dick move to end all dick moves. They really shouldn’t have done Kurtis like that.

Let me tell you what’s really good about this movie ‘Scream of the Banshee’. For starters the Banshee looks simply fantastic. The hag version of the banshee is suitably horrific, the makeup effects for this creature are great, she shakes and shimmies and squeals… if the filmmakers had kept more focus on her and less focus on bratty adult daughters and wacked out nonsensical soothsayers who provided no value-added content, then we might’ve had something here. Another thing that’s great about this movie is Lauren Holly’s body which is simply fantastic. It also shakes and shimmies and I’m pretty sure it has the ability to make you squeal. I hope that’s not inappropriate. Lauren needs to make an exercise video or something and call it ‘Fit at almost Fifty’. I wouldn’t work out but I’d watch the video. Last week it was Nia Peeples on Sci-Fi, this week Lauren Holly. That’s almost 100 years worth of women who could challenge just about any twenty year old.

But outside of the horrible banshee and the glorious Lauren what we mostly have left is a lot of confusion and stupidity. What kind of professional opens an 800 year old locked box that breathes? In this century we have crazy technology which allows us to look into things without opening them. And if you are bleeding constantly and profusely from the ears, at what point do you go to the doctor? Apparently never since alcohol swabs seem to work on deep ear bleeds so well. And why did they let Kurtis just die in that car crash? Couldn’t they have pulled him out? They just left him there. To scream. And we know what happens when you scream but Kurtis probably didn’t want to be stuck bleeding to death in a car crash and just wanted it over with.

I guess the banshee only exists in your mind except when you need it not to exist in your mind so you can stab it. I guess. I’m not sure about any of that and I really don’t know what purpose Lance Henriksen’s character was supposed to serve in this movie. It just seems that this movie got a little too ambitious with all of mystical mind games, end of world scenarios and imaginary monsters. Focus more on the real monster, which was really well designed, destroying people’s brains. That’s what I would’ve done. And focus more on Lauren chasing down this monster in her inappropriately tight tank top without having to worry about her bratty adult daughter. That right there is a basic recipe for monster success. We did not get that with the landmark Sci-Fi Original Movie number 200, ‘Scream of the Banshee’. Still, out of the 200 it’s probably in the top 25.

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