• 05 Jun - 11 Jun, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

The Edelvine Academy for Girls is just like any other prestigious school sought after by well-to-do parents; lofty academic goals and rewards, mischievous students gleefully playing awful pranks on one another between classes, and the occasional propensity to find a student murdered by a vengeful spirit summoned by a random séance. You know, the usual.

After the apparent suicide of Kerrie (Megan Best) immediately following one of those aforementioned pranks, Edelvine fills its vacancy by welcoming a new student in the form of Camille (Suki Waterhouse). Immediately, Camille runs headfirst into a physical altercation with the head of Edelvine’s version of The Plastics, Alice (Inanna Sarkis), as well as her cohorts. This does not sit well with Mrs Landry (Marina Stephenson Kerr), as the headmistress promptly sentences the lot of them to a bit of Breakfast Club detention where they are to complete a school project before release.

The girls do absolutely no actual work before casting responsibility to the wind, in order to enact yet another séance to contact Kerrie and find out what really happened to her. When they allegedly make contact with the spirit world, and various students begin turning up missing, Seance sets its sights on a slightly tamer version of Scream for the Charmed set. What awaits us is a mystery meshed with a bit of paranormal happenstance and possibly murder.

Making his feature directing debut is Simon Barrett. As an acclaimed screenwriter, Barrett has crafted some of the finest thrillers of the past decade with You’re Next and The Guest. Barrett has a knack for finding those kitschy tones that undercut and cross over each fairly flawlessly, keeping our gaze in wonder as we await the inevitable twist.

Seance is no different, as Barrett plays comfortably to multiple genres while working his way to an unquestionably nonsensical yet entertainingly bonkers finale. The only difference is this ride to our inevitable reveal is less engaging than those earlier films. Barrett has found his screenwriting niche, and makes a sound directing debut, it is just that Seance lacks the intoxicating connective tissue needed to fully succumb to his filmmaking magic.

Seance could have benefitted from a bit more logic in its plotting and a dose of manic energy in the proceedings, but overall this is an entertaining thriller worth a watch.