A Banquet (2022)

  • Horror
  • 1h 37m

Scottish director Ruth Paxton makes an assured feature debut with A Banquet, a disturbing, disquieting psychological horror film, with impressive female performances at its heart.

Jessica Alexander plays Betsy, a young woman in her final year of high school who lives with her mother, Holly (Sienna Guillory) and younger sister Isabelle (Ruby Stokes). While at a party one night, Betsy has an intense, mysterious experience that somehow changes her. Following this strange happening, Betsy claims to have been chosen by a higher power, and stops eating altogether. Puzzlingly, and distressingly, she does not seem to be losing weight. Naturally Betsy’s behaviour rocks this family dynamic to its core, and eventually her grandmother (Lindsay Duncan) steps in to try and restore order.

Like Rose Glass’ Saint Maud, this is a film which understands the power of ambiguity; we are invited to wonder if Betsy really has been “chosen”, if she is mentally unwell, or if there is something stranger going on. The interpersonal relationships between three generations of women call to mind Natalie Erika James’ Relic, and are deftly sketched in; backstories alluded to and hinted at, while remaining cleverly just out of reach. An oppressive atmosphere of sadness permeates the film and there is a raw and almost excruciating authenticity to the scenes between Betsy and her mother, with Sienna Guillory perfectly capturing the anguish of a woman who would do anything to help her daughter, but who just can’t seem to keep her family afloat.

Director

Ruth Paxton

Language

English

Country

UK

Studio

Signature

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