“Seance” Review: You Can’t Sit With Us, But Let’s Seance

Suki Waterhouse takes the lead in Simon Barrett’s surprising and subversive slasher-whodunit disguised as a supernatural horror movie.

Howard Chai

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“Seance” RLJE Films Horrr Movie, Suki Waterhouse, Madisen Beaty, Ella-Rae Smith
Image: RLJE Films

The first sign that Seance has intentions of being more than a run-of-the-mill horror movie comes early, in the cold open, when a group of girls perform a séance in their dormitory bathroom and none of them scream when it seemingly succeeds and an entity rises out of a bathtub.

It’s quickly revealed that some of them are in on the joke — literally in this case, because it’s a prank. But it would be a mistake to attribute the lack of screams to that, because when the girl on the wrong end of the prank runs off and is later found dead— for real — again none of the girls scream.

What’s up with these girls? Well, for beginners —like Camille Meadows (Suki Waterhouse) when she fills the vacant spot in the prestigious girls’ academy left by the aforementioned death — these girls are mean. There’s Alice, the Regina George of the clique; Bethany, the quiet but sharp one; and Yvonne, the less-than-quiet one.

How do you know they’re mean? Because when Camille wanders in to the study hall on her first day and sits down at the first empty table she comes across…

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Howard Chai

I strive towards a career that ends up leaving me somewhere between Howard Beck and Howard Beale.