Reviews | Written by John Townsend 11/01/2022

SÉANCE

There is something slightly unsettling, rather unnerving about watching Séance. Rather than being caused by a creepy atmosphere or some inventively scary moments, it’s because this is the type of film you didn’t think they were making anymore.

At the exclusive Edelvine boarding school for girls, a gang of ‘cool’ seniors call on the resident ghost as a spooky trick to play on the nerdy Kerrie, who then promptly falls out of a window. Which opens the door for Camille (Suki Waterhouse) to join, who is less of a pushover than her predecessor. For varyingly dull reasons all the girls end up in detention where, of course, they decide to hold a séance.

When students then start disappearing could it be the summoned ghost? Or is there a more physical explanation for the mysterious events?

Any one of a number of '80s slasher films did this so much better. And you feel the filmmakers have seen those movies, as they’ve borrowed many of the genre tropes: actresses too old for their parts in skimpy clothing, ropey effects and a Giallo-esque soundtrack that bursts out unexpectedly from time to time being just a selection.

But the real problem is, does anybody involved really care?

The script has an awkward, generic feel made worse by performances that are either unenthusiastic (if we’re being charitable) or just plain bad (if we’re not). And there were obviously budgetary concerns as no one has bothered to turn any of the lights on. Or is that supposed to be atmosphere?

By the time writer/director Simon Barrett (he did the much better You’re Next a few years ago so frankly should know better) gets around to the long-overdue reveal you probably won’t care either.

Séance is on Blu-ray and DVD from January 17th.