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Thursday, April 16, 2020

Review: We Summon The Darkness

Director: Marc Meyers
Screenplay: Alan Trezza
Year: 2020

A group of three friends goes to a heavy metal concert and on the way, they hear about a wave of killings by a satanic cult. At the concert, they meet a group of male friends with whom they go to a house to continue the party. Once in the house, both groups start suspecting each other's intentions and the night turns intense and bloody.

Set in the '80s, “We Summon the Darkness” combines some of the characteristics of the decade to develop its dun story. The peak of the popularity of rock and heavy metal along with the Satanic Panic, a period in which the media circulated fake news about satanic rituals, are some of the most notorious events from this period and that are still alive in pop culture, particularly the music style. 

Director Marc Meyers (“My Friend Dahmer”) takes seriously trying to recreate the style of the decade in the audiovisual aspect of his movie. The musical selection is the perfect summary of the music of this period with songs from rock bands with tasty guitar riffs, atmospheric and psychedelic synth music, aggressive metal and some pop are intertwined with the visuals to improve every scene. In the visual aspect, there is plenty of attention put into clothing styles and decoration from the time to represent it in the best way possible. 

The plot of writer Alan Trezza (“Burying the Ex”) is fun and a bit campy, and one to not be taken too seriously. The slightly comedic tone in which several situations unfold and the constant, but effective, comedic relief establish that feeling of lightheartedness and of just enjoying what is presented. Furthermore, the plot puts a lot of emphasis and hopes in the effectiveness of the various twists it has in store and with this, they hit the target, as they are unexpected and fulfill the purpose of being surprising.

Along with the best virtues of the movie, there is the great pacing in which everything unfolds. For the most part, there is not more time invested in getting to know the characters or in the situations than is needed, and the flow of events is kept constant and increasing in tension until everything takes an unexpected turn. The scenes that take place after this twist is where the weaknesses of the movie lay, mainly concerning the mismatch of how the tension keeps building up in its preface and how tame and shy it gets once everything is unleashed, not living up to the expectations it creates. 

The characters presented are the life of the party and, in a great deal, what keeps the attention of the viewer. Although with some issues in the acting, particularly with overacting, the main cast composed of Alexandra Daddario (“Texas Chainsaw 3D”), Maddie Hasson (“God Bless America”), Amy Forsyth (“Channel Zero”), Keean Johnson (“Alita: Battle Angel”), Logan Miller (“Escape Room”) and Austin Swift (“Live by Night”) do a great job. Each one represents well the qualities of their characters, them being doubt, bravery or recklessness and they all complement well the plot and the tone in which it is shared.

“We Summon the Darkness” combines rock and heavy metal music with the style and popular culture of the ‘80s to offer a fun movie about religious extremes and rebelliousness. It falls short on gore and in the intensity, it promises during its first half, but these shortcomings are compensated with how fun it is and its excellent comedy pieces. Hesitating in some key parts doesn’t allow it to exploit its potential and reach the realm of excellent movies and remains as a good and fun movie.

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