Polterheist – UK, 2018

‘Guns. Gangsters. Ghosts.’

Polterheist is a 2018 British comedy crime-horror feature film directed by David Gilbank from a screenplay co-written with Gemma Head, based on his 2016 short film of the same name. The India Calling production stars Jamie Cymbal, Sid Akbar Ali, Jo Mousely and Pushpinder Chani.

Plot:

Two gangsters are given seventy-two hours to discover the whereabouts of a stash of drug money stolen by their boss. There’s only one problem… they just murdered him.

Frantic to find the cash, the hapless criminals kidnap a psychic medium and force her to contact the dead gang boss. Unfortunately for them, they only succeed in unleashing an evil spirit bent on revenge…

Reviews:

Polterheist is an impressive debut film from David Gilbank which delivers a brilliantly funny, original and refreshing take on a traditional gangster story, offering a unique cross over of genres which makes it stands out on its own.” Philip Rogers, Blazing Minds

“Primarily a gangster film, Polterheist attempts to bring in some elements of the horror genre and mixes it together with a little binding black humour. The result? A film that promises a good bit of fun but never fully reaches its potential.” Blueprint: Review

” …for those of you who like horror, or comedy, or gangster movies, you are in for a treat, as Polterheist is all three. And don’t be put off by the terrible title as Polterheist is a brilliant indie film, one of them little gems that come along all too infrequently.” Britflicks

“The violence is hardcore enough where even John Wick would even approve. All guts, no glory […] I enjoyed this film’s look at why some people took to a life of crime and the answers given make sense. I find it rare to find a film which tries to understand the criminal mind, and when it offers some logical perspectives, even as a viewer, I can’t help but sympathize.” Drunk in a Graveyard

“It starts off as a buddy crime caper, then turns into a supernatural thriller, then a soap-opera style drama about infidelity, with a horror-comedy thread running throughout. The result is a film that appears to have a script which was written during production, with completely inexplicable plot revelations that are paired with paper-thin characters…” Film Inquiry

“Gilbank is to be commended for setting his film away from the London-centric milieu in which British crime films usually take place. He is to be applauded for depicting a multicultural community, albeit one in which the various ethnic groups are all equally crime-ridden.  He has an eye for detail and the photography by Chris Powell is excellent. I could have done with more positive representations of women, but the film overall is more misanthropic than it is misogynistic.” Daniel King, Fortean Times

“The film is an interesting combination which comes off as both funny and even creepy, and it really excites the audience and gets them entertained at the same time.Hollywood North Magazine

“There’s a refreshing lack of cockneys to its gangster villains, and instead director David Gilbank goes with a colourful bunch of Anglo-Indians, Muslims and Eastern Europeans, somewhat more representative of our multicultural Britain […] Polterheist isn’t laugh-out-loud funny, but it’s not crying-out-loud awful either, and that counts for a lot within these subgenres.” Joel Harley, Horror DNA

“The Tarantino-inspired criminal banter offers contrived petty arguments about stationary, and the horror content has little to offer beyond extreme projectile vomiting. Gilbank aims for a tone pitched between laughs and pathos, but unworkable gags doom it, despite the slick look…” Steven West, Horrorscreams Videovault

“There are a few irresistible, indelible sections of film that really grip you. It’s entertaining, dark and viscous.Overall, Polterheist is engaging and intense. It has well placed humor fused with some amazing performances. The directing is assertive and very knowledgeable. It’s grimy and haunting.” House of Tortured Souls

“Shot well, Gilbank makes the most of what he has and overall Polterheist sits comfortably alongside much bigger British productions of recent years. The performances in particular push the film forward with Sid Akbar Ali and Jamie Cymbal making a relatable yet dodgy double act…” Love Horror

“What I found when watching this indie work is a huge respect and perfect use of the tropes commonly found in a ghost story. Quite often, it is not about the scares that can take place. Instead, it’s with how unfinished business gets resolved, especially by those whose life gets cut short.” Ed Sum, Otaku No Culture

“Laced with tongue in cheek humour and surprising twists this film had me laughing and guessing all the way through.” Phat Nerd

“It never takes itself too seriously, and given its minuscule budget, it’s quite impressive what was accomplished. It’s a dark comedy that has a lot of unexpected twists and layers of amusing inanity, sometimes closing in on slapstick, amidst all of its violence and drama. It’s a synthesis of gangs, empty-headed gangsters and the paranormal wrapped into one wild ride.” Queen B. Productions

Polterheist is a very funny film, starring lots and lots of newcomers who produce some pretty impressive acting in places. It is most certainly not for the faint-hearted on any level, it is gory, explicit, racist and generally offensive and the sheer quantity of swearing is mind boggling.” Road Rash Reviews

Polterheist has cult classic written all over it; lock-stock and ghosts. It’s well-written and boasts great acting throughout. The violence is hard-hitting without being over the top and there are some downright hilarious moments.” Starburst

“Mixing some genuinely unsettling moments with comedy, sometimes within the same scene, Polterheist is an unpredictable, and somewhat schizoid film. It bounces from scenes of torture to puke gags to sensitive moments and back on a regular basis. It takes a moment to adjust, but once you do its a fun ride.” Jim Morazzini, Voices from the Balcony

Polterheist is something of a well-observed film with a strong final act that eschews the criminality and violence that comes before it without losing sight of what makes the film a success. It certainly won’t satisfy viewers hoping for a gorefest, but it definitely delivers on story, character and humour.” Vulturehound

“The gritty northern backdrop as depicted by the Bradford and Leeds skylines and hand held urban shots of the region’s less desirable criminal haunts give it edgy authenticity but that hard edge is never there for long. This is after all a black comedy with a well delivered one-liner never far away.” What’s Hot London

“The West Yorkshire locations are used to great effect and the genre-busting script provides thrills and laughs aplenty. A wonderfully accomplished low-budget gem.” Yvonne Huddleston, Yorkshire Post

Filming locations:

Bradford, Leeds and Manchester, England

Trivia:

This feature should not be confused with the 2018 American short film of the same name directed and produced by Austin Spicer.

YouTube reviews:

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