Dusty rooms, English accents, children’s games turned ominous, Sean Harris showing up and saying things with his creepy voice – The Banishing appears to have it all! This new Shudder horror film comes from director Christopher Smith (Creep, Severance, Triangle) and follows a family who move into an old manor only to discover the joint is haunted. And it’s “based on the true story” of England’s most haunted house. Watch The Banishing trailer below.

The Banishing Trailer

In The Banishing, “A young reverend and his wife and daughter move into a manor with a horrifying secret. When a vengeful spirit haunts the little girl and threatens to tear the family apart, the reverend and his wife are forced to confront their beliefs. They must turn to black magic by seeking the help of a famous Occultist…or risk losing their daughter.”

The horror film is headed to Shudder, and stars Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey), Sean Harris (Mission: Impossible franchise), John Lynch (The Secret Garden, Black Death), and John Heffernan (Eye in the Sky). Based on this trailer, it looks pretty spooky, and I’m always up for a good ghost movie. The marketing material for The Banishing plays up the fact that it “tells the true story of the most haunted house in England,” although it does this without actually mentioning where or what the house is. Based on my extensive research (I looked on Google), the alleged “most haunted house in England” is Borley Rectory, which is located in the village of Borley in Essex.

If you were hoping to go there and see how spooky it is for yourself, I have bad news: it doesn’t exist anymore. The building was constructed in 1862, but it was badly damaged by fire in 1939 and demolished in 1944. But while it existed, psychic researcher and author Harry Price dubbed it “the most haunted house in England.” Price also wrote a book on the building, called – appropriately enough – The Most Haunted House in England: Ten Years Investigation of Borley Rectory. Here’s the book’s synopsis:

Borley Rectory was the house that gained infamy as “the most haunted house in England” after its ten-year-long paranormal investigation by the psychic researcher; Harry Price. Price dedicated his life to uncovering the truth behind the paranormal, leading him to become one of the most well-known psychical researchers of all time. It was his investigation into Borley Rectory which by far became the most famous case in Price’s long career. Eventually leading to the Victorian house being crowned the ‘most haunted in England’.This book is a reprint of Price’s original 1940’s publication documenting his ten-year investigation into exploring the nature of paranormal phenomena surrounding Borley Rectory. The rectory was attributed to classic poltergeist activity, wall-writing, mysterious fires and supernatural manifestations. Most notable of these is that of the figure of a nun, known for walking across the garden. Also appearing was a spectral carriage and team of horses driven by a headless coachman. It could be said that the story of Borley Rectory is as much a story of a haunted house and ghosts as it is about the living.

It doesn’t really look like any of this is in the movie, though. Instead, it appears that The Banishing took the idea of Borley Rectory and used it to tell a new scary story, and that’s fine – it’s an approach taken by many “based on a true story” horror movies (see: pretty much every movie in the Conjuring franchise). The Banishing will stream exclusively to Shudder on April 15 in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as via the Shudder offering within the AMC+ bundle where available.

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