Directed by: Christopher James Cramer
Written by: R.J. Buckley
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In The Seance, a YouTube famous woman attempts to debunk the work of a local medium who claims he is not a medium after a seemingly successful seance. Andy (Miranda Skerman) searches high and low for any wires, hidden fans, or new-age tech that could explain how a playerless piano plays a complicated tune, all to no avail. The host, Nate (Michael Minto), must be a first-class scam artist to be able to fool her, but she'll figure it out. As Andy delves deeper into the life and home of Nate, it's beginning to look like he's not a con artist at all. But how could that be possible? Could she have been wrong all this time?
Christopher James Cramer directs this nicely captured back and forth between skeptics and believers. Miranda Skerman's character is expertly captured as she hammers at Nate for any cracks in his calm and collected facade, all the while searching his home for any signs of trickery. All this while Minto's character Nate seemingly eggs her on in an often amused, comedic way. It's a great back and forth and is easily the film's highlight. And it has to be because The Seance is mostly dialogue-driven, so the whole movie may have fallen apart without the perfect leading characters. I was glad it didn't as The Seance glided to its unusual conclusion.
Easily it's the first half of the film where everything just works. Starting off with a seance to bring everyone together worked perfectly and allowed Andy and Nate the opportunity to have their conversations. It was also a nice touch to learn the stories of the characters through flashbacks spread throughout the film but, as much as I enjoyed the ending, I will admit it felt a little off. It almost felt like the film didn't quite know where it wanted to go, but quickly, The Seance doubled down and got back on track with a conclusion/explanation that felt right and tight. The way the credit sequence at the end was put together was a nice touch as well.
The Seance ended up being a well-written and excellently acted movie that, for me, was a great indie movie to end the year with. It's not overly horrific and relies more on people's curiosity about seances and the paranormal to keep things interesting. As far as independent movies go, this was one of the better ones I've seen this past year. A reminder that sometimes all you need is a good story, good actors, and some hard work to make a production work. The Seance ended up being a well-rounded, entertaining film. 4/5 stars.