We Summon the Darkness

06/02/2020 06:35

Film: We Summon the Darkness

Year: 2019

Director: Marc Meyers

Writer: Alan Trezza

Starring: Alexandria Daddario, Keean Johnson and Maddie Hasson



This movie I was intrigued by when I heard podcasters talking about it. With the theaters closed, I’ve been forced to search out 2020 horror releases so I can keep up with my goal for the year. This is also one that watched with Jaime as she thought it sounded interesting as well. The synopsis is three best friends embark on a road trip to a heavy-metal show, where they bond with three aspiring musicians and head off to one of the girls’ country homes for an after-party.

We start this movie knowing that we’re in Indiana back in 1988. Inside of a car we have Alexis (Alexandra Daddario) with her two friends, Val (Maddie Hasson) and Beverly (Amy Forsyth). They’re on their way to a concert. Val has issues though where she needs to constantly stop to use the bathroom. At a gas station, we see on the television Pastor John Henry Butler (Johnny Knoxville). He’s a televangelist who is worried about heavy metal music and the youth that listen to it. Once they’re back on the road, we hear a news report on the radio about some ritualistic, satanic murders. This bothers Beverly so she wants to change it while Alexis is interesting in hearing the report.

Things take a turn when a van passes them and throws something out of the window. It hits their hood and gets all over the windshield. They pull over to realize it isn’t that bad and continue their journey. It turns out the van is also at the concert. The girls throw firecrackers through the passenger side window. Those inside flee with fear to reveal Mark (Keean Johnson), Ivan (Austin Swift) and Kovacs (Logan Miller). They’ve been following this band for multiple stops of the tour and they’re also taking Mark to California. He’s relocating out there and it really bothers Kovacs. The guys apologize and entice the girls to hang out with them.

After the show, Alexis invites the boys back to her house in the country. The guys agree and they head out into the middle of nowhere. They’re drinking and partying, but things take a dark turn when the real plan is revealed as to why they’re hanging out.

That’s where I wanted to leave this recap as it is around this part that we get the first major reveal and I think it is something that should be experienced. This is going to a featured review on Journey with a Cinephile: A Horror Movie Podcast where I’ll delve more into some of the spoiler aspects, but I’m going to hold off here.

I do think this movie has a really good set up. Giving us the introduction to Pastor John through a television report, then the report of the crimes over the car radio I think really works well. The movie is a bit cryptic in its building as well in the fact that when the girls first meet the guys, they have a tabloid type magazine in their vehicle that has a report on these crimes. I think this works to not play the movie’s hand to early on what we get, making us suspect both sides.

This movie though doesn’t work as well as I really wanted it to though. I think that in part it is due to the writing of the characters. Their plan is interesting in a sick and sadistic way. The more we learn about it, the more it makes sense and it really bothers me to be honest. Jaime asked me some things while watching this and I said it really kind of reminds me of the Spanish Inquisition or the Salem Witch Trails. Religion is being used to justify the means.

Getting back to my point of bad writing, when the characters reveal what their plan is, I just don’t think they would act the way they do. The choice of words didn’t fit for me. It really feels like they wanted to either do it for comedic or they just want to show insane they are. Regardless, I just don’t feel it is in line with what they’re trying to sell to me.

Since I’ve talking about the actors, I’ll shift this over to the acting. Daddario does a really good job here. I like the character she is portraying as it is a role I haven’t really seen her take on to be honest. It really worked for me though and I’m glad to see her doing some different things. Hasson was pretty fun as well. She is pretty foul mouthed from the start and it just gets worse with her. She is quite attractive along with Daddario and Forsyth as well. We have an interesting cameo from Knoxville who was fine. The rest of the cast was alright for what was needed, but they really didn’t stand out. There’s some subpar acting as well with some of the more minor characters.

Going along with what was pretty solid would be the effects. We get practical ones for the most part or if they were CGI, it was really good. The blood that we see is solid and some of the attacks work. There are some issues with where someone gets stabbed as well as some CGI fire. None of this really hurts the movie, but just some things that did stick out to me. The cinematography was also pretty solid and there were some interesting camera angles for sure, one of which from the point of view through Val’s legs while she is bent over at the waist. I don’t know why, but I dug it.

Now with that said, this movie was pretty solid in my opinion. It has an interesting set up for sure and I like where they went with some of the reveals. This has a subject matter that really works for me where they’re playing with religion, the corruption of it and those that follow. This has a good runtime that kept me from getting bored, which was good. This is listed as a comedy, but we don’t get much of that. There are some subtle things though for sure. I do think we have some missteps with word choice that isn’t in line with the reveal of characters in my opinion. The effects for the most part were really good. The soundtrack didn’t really stand out, but it fit for what was needed. I’d say this is above average movie, but probably not going to be a contender for the year end.


My Rating: 7 out of 10