Image Entertainment, the UK distributors of THE INVOKING, were responsible for bringing us BLOODY HOMECOMING, which I reviewed a few months ago. While that film was cheerfully amateur in its approach, but with a fair amount of action and an entertaining climax, THE INVOKING is almost the opposite - an attempt by a competent film-maker with a fine eye for scary landscapes that unfortunately has some serious problems with pacing and, well, with anything very much actually happening.
The film starts promisingly enough, offering us echoes of both EVIL DEAD (the original, naturally) and COLD PREY as we are introduced to four young friends in a car. They’re travelling to the house that Sam (Trin Miller) has inherited from the parents who gave her up for adoption when she was five. There are some fine attempts at characterisation here, and the roles are served well by actors whose abilities are thankfully better than some low-budget fare.
The house is located in the kind of bleak, bare, wintry landscape that again evokes EVIL DEAD, and writer-producer-director Jeremy Berg captures it beautifully with a series of compositions that suggest he could make a really good folk horror picture if he had a bit of guidance.
He needs that guidance because the one thing a horror film really needs is for something scary to happen in the first half an hour, one of the many things THE INVOKING is sadly missing. There’s a lot of lovely bleak scenery, so much so that I was almost seduced by it into thinking that THE INVOKING might turn out to be really good, but by the thirty minute mark I was wondering if there was going to be any plot at all.
There is a plot, one that’s delivered in whispers and hints and very low-budget versions of flashbacks that still doesn’t actually make a lot of sense by the end. However, as I hope I’ve intimated above, Jeremy Berg most certainly isn’t a hack, and as I write this I find myself wishing I could say nicer things about his film. It is terribly slow and uneventful, and there’s too much talking about not very much, but at the same time there’s the feeling that if only Berg had the right producer he could make something very interesting indeed.
Image presents THE INVOKING on DVD with both 2.0 and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound mixes. There are two commentaries - one by Berg and one by the actors. There’s also a short making of. One for fans of very very quiet horror indeed, who might find the occasional atmospherics of this piece enough to make a viewing worthwhile.
Image Entertainment are releasing THE INVOKING on Region 2 DVD on 12th May 2014