I make no secret of being a fan of the After Dark stable, especially since they added the "Originals" moniker to their brand of horror. The tweak in labelling means movies have been created and developed from totally original scripts, as oppose to simply distributing movies already made.

I had the pleasure of attending the After Dark Originals Horrorfest in Newcastle earlier on in the year which showcased their latest offerings. As promised, these titles have been gradually dripping onto DVD and Blu Ray ahead of a proposed collector�s box set due for release around Halloween 2011.

The latest to shriek its arrival into domestic horror market is Steven C Millers SCREAM OF THE BANSHEE. The gothic flavoured title sequence gives way to a battle scene amid the wintery forests of Ireland way back in 1188 AD. But you won�t find this particular crusade in the history books, for it�s a demon that the knights are fighting. Although lives are lost, the armoured warriors eventually triumph by exiling the entity to an ornate metal box.

Its confinement continues until a modern day Professor (Lauren Holly) discovers the box concealed behind an artificial wall of her University. When the Irish Templar symbolism decorating the box looks remarkably similar to the markings of an ancient iron glove obtained by the institution, one of Whelan�s student�s overzealous inquisitiveness leads to the baroque box being disengaged by the glove. The spectral scream of the incarcerated banshee reverberates through the College, thus rousing some antiquate Gaelic lore - for all who hear the scream, are cursed for eternity.....

Having initially watched the movie at the After Dark Originals Horrorfest it was interesting to survey the films transition from the big screen to the small.

While not a classic by any stretch of the imagination there are enough macabre aesthetics and solid performances to make this an enjoyable watch. The mix of seasoned pro Lauren Holly and relative newcomer Marcelle Baer as the mother & daughter immersed in crisis works well even if there is more than a hint of clich� about the relationship.

The shocks were certainly more effective in its theatrical environment as oppose to its DVD convenience, mainly due to the booming sound system. I still enjoyed watching the movie on DVD but it did have that �made for video� feel about it second time round.

Another possible criticism levelled at the film is how it relied just a little too much on the �hallucinogenic red herring� angle at times to prolong the predicament. Even with its limitations it still provides the viewer with a fun 86 minutes or so.

It seems very easy these days to criticize movies for not being all out classics. Indeed I have read more than once that the After Dark brand is in danger of associating itself quite closely with mediocrity.

I prefer to look at the positives and what I love about the After Dark catalogue is its diversity of ideas and ambitious concept of annual festivals.

Not the best film you are going to watch in 2011 but far from being the worst!

Review by Marc Lissenburg

Released by G2 Pictures
Region 2 - PAL
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review