Spiritualist, The; Visually Breathtaking Drama Horror
Spiritualist, The. Film Details.
Director: Carl Medland
Writer: Carl Medland
Release Date: December 5th, 2017
Release Format: VOD and DVD
MPAA Rating: N/A
Running Time: 101 min
Laura, suffering horrific night terrors and sleep paralysis, believes the sinister spirit haunting her is the ghost of her mother. Scared and desperate, she reaches out to the spiritualist to host a seance with her friends. Everyone is terrorised as the entity makes them all confront their worst fears.
The Spiritualist is a part ghost drama part slasher horror film written and directed by Carl Medland who focuses on grief, family and the occult.
Ian Reddington … as Father
Julie T. Wallace … as Mother
Petra Bryant … as Petra
Arron Blake … as Arron
Judson Vaughtan … as Jake
Jasmyn Banks … as Laura
Lee Knight … as Daniel
Ross William Wild … as Jody
Caroline Burns Cooke … as The Spiritualist
The Spiritualist will be available December 5th, 2017 on Comcast, Direct TV, Amazon, Itunes, Google Play, Vimeo, Xbox, Steam, Vudu, Fandango Now, Youtube and on DVD exclusively on Amazon MOD.
One of the major issues I had with The Spiritualist was being confused while watching it for the first half hour of the film. It’s not a smooth film to follow, to say the least. It starts really nicely with a wonderful one-shot sequence where Medland introduces us the mansion where Laura lives with her boyfriend when abruptly she faces for the first time an evil presence. After that point, we follow her and her parents and I wasn’t sure if her parents lived with them in the mansion, but later I eventually understood that Medland mixes present time with flashbacks to focus the drama behind Laura’s paranoia.
It took me a long time to figure it out and after that moment it all comes tumbling down with a typical occult seance where Laura and her friends try to cast the presence and talk with it. The film slowly goes from there until the slasher climax where I was too annoyed to even care about the characters.
As you can imagine, the film has a huge failure with rhythm, which is unsatisfying because visually The Spiritualist may surprise the viewer with delicate shots and clean cinematography. Medland knows how to create an atmosphere but fails to stay on his path. He changes his methods of directing during the film by choosing to film long wide shots while characters are having conversations which can be a problem to engage the viewer; and at some moment he chooses to stay with the characters during suspense and chilling moments with close-ups while not sharing with us at all why the characters are scared or what they are actually witnessing.
The performances are overall very good, but we see a difficulty to stay on the same tone, essentially being confronted to overacting. This isn’t a problem about acting, but more about how the moments are filmed.
There are a lot of good moments and sequences that I really loved in The Spiritualist but the film doesn’t impress and it needed more impact with different shots, rapid sequences, and a different color grading. As a result, we feel bored at times and you merely feel the need to keep going to see what happens in the end which is somewhat good and has a lovely interpretation of death and beyond. The final scene almost feels like a theatre act.
Carl Medland has a lot to offer as a fresh and original filmmaker, but The Spiritualist fails to engage the viewer with a confusing plot and sadly it doesn’t entirely appeal leaving a peculiar taste in your mouth after watching.