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Review Seance (2021): A good little horror flick!

genre: horror, mystery

Honestly I wasn't aware that Seance had been written and directed by Simon Barrett. But in hindsight it makes sense. While it's not nearly as strong and powerful as The Guest or You're Next it certainly is a good little horror flick.

Like with The Guest Simon plays around with genre conventions. It also does look and feel like it's heavily inspired by (or paying tribute to) Giallo specifically Dario Argento's work Suspiria and Deep Red. But it also has a little Mean Girls in it. Normally a combination like this shouldn't work but surprisingly it does. And I would credit that to the tight direction. Barret demonstrates how to properly execute misdirection. Mind you, it's not that shocking or surprising but effective nonetheless. I do think that is because of the excellent acting by most of the cast. They really sell the events. Especially Suki Waterhouse did a good job. 

I also would like to add that the duration of 92 minutes helped enormously. While nothing feels rushed the fast pace lets you focus on the mystery. I must say that it's real refreshing to watch a film that is not getting distracted by all kinds of boring subplots. Although through the interactions, dynamics and gestures between the characters you get a good idea of what is going on between them. Very subtle and beautiful. Such a contrast to being told and explained of what is going on every five minutes. 

However this film isn't without flaws. The reveal at the end was interesting but fell short. It wasn't super satisfying especially since the reason given was a bit ridiculous. In hindsight though there is a small scene where you get exposed to one of the characters being treated in a certain way. Unfortunately it's something that quite a few people go through and it's not that hard to imagine that it could drive someone to insanity. Still it doesn't diminish the fact that Mrs. Landry very easily is to diminish events and carries on like nothing has happened. But now I think about it that is exactly how some of the events played out in Suspiria. In a way this is brilliant. At the same time it's very convenient.

Overall I had a blast with Seance and I can really recommend it.

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