Poor Laura; her nights are filled with a real plastic hassle of screaming, unending terror…night terrors to be precise (this probably not helped by the fact she lives in a creepy-as-balls mansion). Any ol’ way, L-Dawg is also dealing with the recent death of her mother who was nuttier than a goddamned fruit cake. Naturally, there are only two answers to what’s plaguing our heroine: her mother is haunting her like a MF’er, or Laura too has a bad case of beastly bats in her belfry. Regardless, a medium is called, a seance is performed, and Laura and her friends experience a violence laden experience. No refunds.
Let’s start with what works with The Spiritualist, shall we? Well, it’s well acted, with Caroline Burns Cooke as the titular spiritualist being a real standout (as is the entire seance sequence). I also enjoyed the unconventional approach to parts of the narrative (the film almost seems like two films in one…and more on that below), and some of the cinematography added a suitable cold, stark ambiance.
Unfortunately, The Spiritualist has a lot of things working against it. For one, the beginning section of the film is so heavy on the drama you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s a fright flick at all. Also hindering the narrative are flashbacks that occur in the middle of scenes without any real visual clues that they are taking place. All of this said, the main drawback to the film is that the majority of the characters are flat out whiny, annoying, or some combination of the two, with our main character Laura being the chief offender…yup, we spend most of our time with a woman that grates on ya like…like a cheese grater…I don’t know, she just ain’t good.
If you are looking for a supernatural shocker that’s light on the paranormal thrills (though what is here is good), but heavy on character interaction, then give The Spiritualist a look…but why you would be looking for that is beyond me…