A bit of an unusual dweller in the world of seance-themed horror flicks, Christopher James Cramer's The Seance is a darkly comical, relational motion picture as reliant on the chemistry between its two main characters, Nate (Michael Minto) and Andy (Miranda Skerman), as it is in amping up the inherent thrills and chills required of indie horror.
Currently available via streaming outlets courtesy of indie distributor Gravitas Ventures, The Seance kicks off at the home of Nate, a purveyor of public seances that serve to satisfy spiritual seekers and also provide an income for the young man in the gothic-tinged, spirit-filled dwelling. In this latest event, amongst the seekers is Andy, a noted Youtube debunker of such events who has been assured by friends that Nate is the real deal.
You can see the sparkle in Andy's eyes as she imagines proving her friends and Nate wrong.
A good amount of The Seance is reliant upon the chemistry between Nate and Andy, an intriguing tension for two people with separate but nearly equal agendas. We are not particularly surprised when The Seance begins to take another direction, though the script by R.J. Buckley does have a few surprises in store for us. The house itself is most certainly eerie and Julius Sean's effective lensing makes sure we feel every inch of the room's presence.
Cramer paces the film quite nicely and allows both the film's characters and the audience room to breathe. The film's laughs are essential to everything that unfolds, though they are more naturally manifested from the tension and definitely not gags. This is not a spoof film, per se. While the relationship between Andy and Nate is strong, there were moments when the tension became a bit muted. Fortunately, it picked right back up.
Minto possesses a rather discomfiting mixture of vulnerability and swagger, a combination that keeps us on the edge of our seats as it's never quite clear if Nate is the master of his domain or if, in fact, the domain is the master.
Regardless, while The Seance lost me in moments it still kept me until its amped up, entertaining end and tied all things together fairly nicely. Behind the winning lead performances of Minto and Skerman, The Seance takes a familiar story and makes it its own.