Review: POLTERHEIST (2018)

Polterheist Poster

Because of their violent and frequently deadly business, mobsters frequently feature into horror films. Whether facing the supernatural wrath of one of their victims as in Ruby or violent criminals having to square off against a serial killer in The Last Heist. They even figure into the zombie apocalypse in Cockneys vs Zombies. Polterheist, the first feature from director David Gilbank takes the idea in another direction with generally enjoyable results.

This is an expanded version of the director’s 2016 short of the same name. Oddly enough, a segment from last year’s Tales From The Hood 2 covers some very similar ground. Though given the short’s relative obscurity I doubt plagiarism was involved.

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Tariq (Sid Akbar Ali) and Boxy (Jamie Cymbal Siezure) are money runners. Their boss Frank, has pulled a double cross on his boss Uday (Pushpinder Chani). Uday demands they find the money within 72 hrs. But since they’ve accidentally killed Frank while trying to get him to talk they have a bit of a problem.

At least until they hear a news piece about Alice (Jo Mousley) a psychic who’s helped the police find a pair of long missing bodies. But if they thought Frank was hard to deal with when he was alive, just wait till they have to deal with his spirit.

Mixing some genuinely unsettling moments with comedy, sometimes within the same scene, Polterheist is an unpredictable, and somewhat schizoid film. It bounces from scenes of torture to puke gags to sensitive moments and back on a regular basis. It takes a moment to adjust, but once you do its a fun ride.

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Gilbank gets some excellent performances out of his mostly inexperienced cast. And that, as you can guess, is crucial to making a film like Polterheist work. Not only do they have to sell the supernatural aspects of the film they have to make us care about some seriously unsympathetic characters. Mousley especially shines, having to play both Alice, and while possessed, Frank. She really does a good job of portraying two very different characters.

This is an excellent first feature that looks like it had a lot more budget and experience behind it than it actually did. Polterheist is a very promising debut for Gilbank and his crew.

Polterheist is available in the UK via Tribal Films DVD and VOD. Release plans for the rest of the world are pending. Check their Facebook Page for updates.

Jim Morazzini

Movie buff, gym rat and crazy cat guy

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