1ST SUMMONING **** USA 2018 Dir: Raymond Wood 94 mins
Your first attempt could become your last when wisdom does not prevail and four young comrades Mark (Teddy Cole), his love rival Ryan (Brook Todd), Leslie (Hayley Lovitt), Mark’s girlfriend and Ace (Ace Harney) soon discover this in what is a creepy offering from Darkwood Pictures as they encounter ritual sacrifice and a crazed vicar in a small town with a dark past.
The similarities to The Blair Witch Project are self evident, but with cunning twists on that riveting tale this movie takes us on a supernatural tour of darkness in Mark’s ‘Mystery Machine’ as the four filmmakers delve deeper into the strange history of the little backwater of Harrison.
Warned off by the locals, their curious minds still cannot resist tempting their fates and they are unperturbed in a spurious quest that risks unleashing a dark peril that lies way beyond their own imaginations.
The local vicar seems disturbed and lives a solitary life surrounded by curious mementos of a Victorian family whose children Alice, James and Walter were all murdered in grisly acts of bizarre and gruesome demonic rites of sacrifice that may have left a dark stain on the strange little town forever.
Mark is possessed by his desire to complete his documentary, Ryan struggles to believe, Leslie is wary and Ace is their ‘Shaggy’ adding some nice comedy touches to this macabre outing into the dark world of devil worship. The kids know the risks of delving deeper, but they do anyway and get a lot more than they bargain for as someone or some thing lures them deeper into a dark mystery that may summon for them much more than their brave little souls had bargained for.
The film doesn’t have a score to speak of because the well framed dialogue, silences and spooky sound effects give the desired and stagnant atmosphere of death and sacrifice. The dark church, graveyard, warehouse and woods all give a compelling, haunted effect and the competent eye level shots all add to the fear factor as the four unlikely friends go deeper into the dark labyrinthine corridors of evil where the good acting performances of the cast help to make sure that this film will have you living the Blair Witch nightmare all over again.
Would you dare follow the symbols of darkness into the holy shrine?
Either way, you just gotta keep watching this one to see if they and your soul survives.
Review by Nathan Sandiford