If the prospect of Monday morning wasn’t scary enough, have a frightful end to your weekend with the FILM IN WORDS Sunday Scare.
Words: Andy Procter
I’d usually start with a small synopsis about the film I’m about to review; the only problem is that I haven’t got a clue what The Invoking is about. Is it a psychological thriller? A paranormal shock fest? A slasher flick? A low-budget teen drama? I know for a fact it had elements of each of these sub-genres – but putting my finger on which one is no easy task.
The film begins in a similar fashion to The Evil Dead, as four friends travel to a secluded cabin in the woods for a holiday. The first half works well as a drama, exhibiting the character’s internal struggles and issues born from their past relationships – though they were never really mentioned more than once or twice. If fully developed, these conflicts would have made for a much more interesting film.
In filmmaking terms The Invoking was far more accomplished in some areas than others. The cinematography was impressive, with a bleak grey filter over scenery which featured a lot of trees, but not a lot of leaves – this fitted well with the overall mood of the picture. The sound however was less impressive. The dialogue throughout the first scene was barely audible over the noise of the car the characters were riding in. Thankfully, it improved in following scenes.
As the picture continued there were multiple elements of paranormal activity depicted as characters were possessed or began seeing things in the woods. However, this exposition was never really developed, with no explanation behind the sudden outbursts on the part of characters.
Modern horror films often leave me cold for a lot of reasons. However, The Invoking was refreshing due to the fact that there were very few of the tired traits that seem to plague the genre. The gore and foul language were minimal and it did not rely upon jump scares to wrench cheap thrills out of the viewer. Some passages were genuinely tense, but inevitably, that tension built but to what was ultimately a disappointment.
I was impressed with how The Invoking kept me guessing in regards to what the enigmas of the plot may be – but when that guessing continued after the final credits began rolling, I realised the writers were just as confused as me about what this film actually wants to be.