|Directed by||Christopher Smith|
|Edited by||Richard Smither|
|Distributed by||Vertigo Releasing|
The Banishing is a 2020 British horror film directed by Christopher Smith, starring Jessica Brown Findlay, John Heffernan, John Lynch and Sean Harris. It premiered at the Sitges Film Festival and London FrightFest Film Festival in October 2020, before being released digitally in the United Kingdom on 26 March 2021.
The film opens with a priest, Stanley, murdering his wife and asking the town physician to cover up the crime. Three years later, in 1938, Marianne and her husband Linus, a reverend, have moved into Morley Rectory with their daughter Adelaide, tasked by Bishop Malachi with restoring the town's sagging faith. The couple has a strained relationship due to Linus's belief that having sex for pleasure is a sin, as well as his jealous fear that Marianne will cheat on him. These fears are exacerbated by the appearance of Harry Reed, who tells him about the rectory's past and that Stanley's wife strayed, as the rectory made her grow wanton. Bishop Malachi later tries to make Harry leave, only for the man to claim that Bishop Malachi is using the family to fulfil a secret, evil purpose for his Nazi cohorts. Harry is later beaten by some of Bishop Malachi's associates.
Marianne is encouraged to meet with Harry at the urging of her deaf housekeeper Betsy. Harry warns her that her lies of Adelaide being her dead sister's child will weaken her to evil forces, as she actually had the child out of wedlock. Marianne is further warned that the rectory will turn people against one another, so the family should leave for their own safety. Back at the house, Linus also experiences a supernatural vision of Marianne committing adultery. This prompts a jealous argument between him and Marianne once she returns, particularly after he discovers that she has been to see Harry. The following day, Marianne receives a visit from Bishop Malachi after a church service. He reveals his knowledge that Adelaide is actually illegitimate and not Linus's child, as well as that the child had been briefly taken away from her while she was in a mental hospital. He orchestrated the child's return and her meeting with Linus, threatening to use his power to take everything away from her if she were to try to leave Morley Hall.
Marianne's relationship with Adelaide grows increasingly sour, as the child has begun to talk to an unseen figure she claims is her real mother. Adelaide then goes missing. Marianne unsuccessfully tries to seek help from a drunk Linus before approaching Harry, who agrees to help her. When they return they find that Betsy has been murdered by the now-possessed Linus who is in a trance. Harry is able to draw him out and explains that Adelaide has been abducted by the spirit of a pregnant woman who was murdered by several monks, as she was carrying their child. He then has Linus perform a ritual to help Marianne retrieve Adelaide and confront the spirits haunting the rectory. Marianne is forced to experience nightmarish visions, some of which are related to her past, during which she proclaims that she is unashamed of what she has done. She manages to find and retrieve Adelaide, promising the murdered woman that they will give her and the unborn child a proper burial. They make good on their promise, however Bishop Malachi is shown at some later point digging up the bodies and delivering them to Nazi officials in Stuttgart.
- Jessica Brown Findlay as Marianne
- John Heffernan as Linus
- John Lynch as Malachi
- Sean Harris as Harry Reed
- Anya McKenna-Bruce as Adelaide
The Banishing was announced in September 2017, with UK-based The Fyzz Facility revealed to be financing it and WestEnd Films to produce. It was introduced at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. Jessica Brown Findlay and Sean Harris were revealed to be starring in October 2018, and principal photography began on 5 November 2018.
The film premiered at the 2020 Sitges Film Festival in Spain on 12 October 2020, and then in the United Kingdom at the London FrightFest Film Festival on 22 October, where it impressed critics. It was then released across the United Kingdom on premium video-on-demand services by Vertigo Releasing, on 26 March 2021.
- Grater, Tom (8 October 2020). "Shudder Buys Major Territories On Sitges Horror 'The Banishing'; Watch Debut Trailer". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 19 October 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
- "The Banishing (2020)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
- Grater, Tom (7 September 2017). "Fyzz Facility to produce, finance haunted-house horror 'The Banishing' (exclusive)". Screen Daily. Archived from the original on 8 September 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
- Grater, Tom (31 October 2018). "Jessica Brown Findlay, Sean Harris to lead horror 'The Banishing' for WestEnd (exclusive)". Screen Daily. Archived from the original on 27 November 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
- "ARROW VIDEO FRIGHTFEST ANNOUNCES BUMPER LINE-UP FOR ITS OCTOBER 2020 DIGITAL EDITION". FrightFest. Archived from the original on 17 November 2020.
- Bitel, Anton (20 October 2020). "British domestic horrors at Halloween FrightFest 2020". BFI. Archived from the original on 31 October 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
- "The home stretch: TV, film and more for the last weeks of lockdown". The Guardian. 15 March 2021. Archived from the original on 25 March 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
- Bitel, Anton (26 March 2021). "VOD film review: The Banishing". Vodzilla. Archived from the original on 26 March 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
- Robey, Tim (26 March 2021). "The Banishing, review: same old Borley Rectory, but with added Nazi necromancy". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 26 March 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2021.