When I launched Shudder on my Roku over the weekend, I was recommended the Autumn Winds Blow curated horror movie collection. It just so happened that I was feeling very autumn-y at that moment, so I searched through it and stumbled upon a short film titled The Banishing. I watched it and was blown away. The Banishing presents a touching story, creepy scares, and a genuine surprise in eleven minutes flat. Very impressive.
The Banishing is the story of young girl named Jessa, who is being terrorized by a malevolent spirit. When the ghost pushes Jessa to do horrific things, her older sister Cindy takes desperate measures to save her. The sisters had such an amazing sibling chemistry together, and for good reason, because a quick visit to IMDb revealed they’re real-life sisters- Danielle Kotch and Haley Kotch. That casting decision paid off.
One of the most impressive aspects of The Banishing is its storytelling efficiency. Every element has a purpose, there’s zero filler, and each thing that’s presented moves the story forward in its brief eleven minute length.
Writers Jacey Heldrich and Brian McAuley and director Erlinger Thoroddsen received well-deserved praise for The Banishing, earning the Screamfest Launchpad Award from Matador Pictures. Thoroddsen has since written and directed two more feature-length horror films titled The Rift and Child Eater, both of which I’m eager to watch after seeing how good this film was.
The cinemetography by John Wakayama Carey also deserves a serious nod because it had the feel of watching a big studio paranormal film. The shots were well-designed and conveyed the emotional terror from each sister’s perspective.
The Banishing is one of the best short horror films I’ve seen and you need to experience it. The film is included for free with your Shudder subscription, or you can watch it on YouTube (below).
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