We Summon the Darkness review: A post gig after-party becomes the battleground for two warring groups of friends, in this effortlessly cool genre thriller.
Alexis (Alexandra Daddario), Val (Maddie Hasson), and Bev (Amy Forsyth) are three friends travelling cross-country to see one of their favourite rock bands. Everywhere they look, the news is screaming about a nationwide slew of satanic murders targeting fans of rock music, but undeterred the trio move forwards with their trip. When they arrive at the gig they hook-up with Mark (Keenan Johnson), Kovacs (Logan Miller), and Ivan (Austin Swift – brother of Taylor Swift), three metalhead friends whom are following the band across America on their tour. The two groups hit it off immediately and the girls decide to invite the boys back to Alexis’ fathers house for some after hour partying, but once there everyone’s true intentions are revealed and a fight to survive till morning ensues.
We Summon the Darkness is a film that plays heavily to the mantra that looks can be deceiving. Nothing is quite what it seems throughout the film, with characters frequently morphing, evolving and adapting from what you think they are. It’s clever work from writer Alan Trezza as it keeps the audience guessing as to who they should trust, if anybody. Trezza previously wrote Burying the Ex, which also stars Daddario, and it seems that he knows how to write for the star and she shines here. Her character of Alexis is potentially the most layered of them all and Daddario accomplishes all the layers in a chameleon-like fashion. The rest of the young cast also attack their parts with gusto; Logan Miller (star of Escape Room) seems well on his way to becoming a genre star, and Maddie Hasson plays her character of Val as a comedic version of Alabama Worley.
The film starts strong, the first thirty minutes or so being the strongest, but loses its way a little in the middle. Once the first big shift happens, the film starts to descend into a few genre cliches. Events begin to unravel and the addition of a couple of new characters and subplots takes us away from the more compelling story elements. Thankfully this misstep doesn’t last too long and the film gets back on track for the finale. Despite some of the momentum having been lost, we arrive at the climax interested and engaged to see where we’ll finally end-up.
The intriguing, always changing narrative, combines with a young and fashionable cast to create something that is a cool and vibrant mixture of Green Room, Funny Games and Scream. A film certain to be a smash with festival crowds, this film, like any good genre film, should be watched with as many people as possible, and as loud as possible, to achieve maximum enjoyment.
We Summon the Darkness was reviewed at Arrow Video Frightfest Halloween 2019.