US (dir. Steven C. Miller)
Cast: Lauren Holly, Lance Henrikson, Eric F. Adams, Marcelle Baer, Edrick Browne
Synopsis: An archeology professor unearths a dangerous artifact, unwittingly releasing a creature that is able to kill with the power of its bone-splitting scream.
Review: A throw back to monster matinee movies in title alone, “Scream of the Banshee” is a woefully piss-poor SyFy Saturday night TV movie that is unfortunately part of this year’s After Dark Originals line up. Though it tries its very best to scare you with banshee screams and strobe-lit death scenes, and to impress you with a cast headed by two familiar faces, Lance Henrikson (as the crazy, old archeology professor) and Lauren Holly (as the younger, more sane archeology professor), it leaves much to be desired.
Beginning with some crap about an Irish mythological creature known as the banshee (totally thought this movie was going to be about a monkey of some sort) whose ear-piercing scream causes you not only to bleed out from your ears, but die as well, the movie seg-ways into modern times where the severed head of said banshee has been discovered behind the walls of a university archeology department basement. Now comes the transition from a supernatural mythological horror story to a half-baked attempt at a slasher film, whereby the severed banshee head wakes up with its trademark, ear-bleeding-inducing scream, causing everyone who happens to be in the university that night to be on the banshee’s hit list.
Since there are apparently no rules as to when the banshee goes about killing people, anyone who hears the scream is just as likely to be attacked in a dream sequence as they are in real life, it becomes frustrating to figure out how to avoid getting killed off by the perpetually screeching old hag. Oh and I mean frustrating for the characters, not the audience, which won’t care because it’ll be laughing too hard at the old hag, banshee muppet. What’s worse is that characters appear to be maimed and killed with no varying degree of interest in the situation from any of the other characters. Ears bleed out, fingers are lost, characters are impaled, but not a single character takes time out to help anyone else (I guess this would have involved hiring/paying for more actors to play the parts of EMTs). The special effects aren’t exactly fantastic, I suppose they could have been a lot worse on a SyFy TV movie budget, but did they really have to make it look so damn cheap? One sequence literally involves a character lying on the floor while buckets of blood are just thrown at her.
Then somewhere around the beginning of the third act, the archeology professor and what’s left of her team track down a crazy, nail-polish wearing, shotgun-toting Lance Henrikson (portraying a crazy old archeology professor) in order to put a stop to the banshee’s mayhem, in lieu of the fact that they pretty much already kind of figure out how to avoid being killed by the banshee anyways. It’s been far too long (and too many crappy movies in between) for Lance Henrikson to be any sort of a draw here, but he plays wacky old man pretty well. Though I’m starting to wonder why he takes these terrible roles anyways.
Throw in some after school special bullshit about the archeology professor’s daughter (the sane archeology professor that is) not spending enough time with her rebellious teenage daughter and you have an unfortunate, inconsistent mess of a movie that thankfully was spared any sort of wide release or even a direct-to-DVD fate.