Friday, April 11, 2014

DVD Review: THE INVOKING (2013)


Label: Image Entertainment 

Region Code: 2 PAL 
Rating: 15 Certificate
Duration: 82 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1)
Cast: Josh Truax, D’Angelo Midili, Trin Miller
Director: Jeremy Berg

The Invoking (2013) is a low-budget psychological thriller from director Jeremy Berg which plays out at a rural farmhouse inherited by Samantha (Trin Miller). The property was willed to her by an estranged aunt. She along with three friends drive out to the farmhouse-in-the-woods for a weekend getaway and to check out the property. The aunt was the sister of Sam's birth mother who she only barely remembers as her parents died when she was very young. They are met at the property by a young creeper named Eric (D’Angelo Midili) who watches over the property and turns out to be a childhood friend of Samantha's, though she has no memory of him or the home where she spent her early years.

Samantha's friends Mark (Brandon Anthony), Roman (Josh Truax) and Caitlyn (Andi Norris) are a decent bunch of characters who manage not to be too annoying. Caityln is a bespectacled cutey, Roman's a bit of a tense guy and Mark is your standard issue indie-dude with a chin full of stubble who for reason unknown records sounds, maybe he's a sound editor and I missed something the first time around.

There's tension among the group with Roman strongly disliking the weirdo Eric who seems a bit obsessed with Samantha. Mark is having a nervous breakdown and Samantha is suffering nightmarish visions. The farmhouse seems to being having a negative impact on everyone and tempers soar while the groups collective psyche crumbles. 

I wouldn't classify this as a horror film but more a tense psychological slow-burn, a set-up with promise but I didn't love the movie. The locations used for the film is eerie rural landscapes and we get your standard issue farmhouse which isn't all that creepy, it's actually quite cozy. Slowly the tension builds but the payoff left me empty, it was creepy buck lacked a sense of dread I felt the story needed. Watching this is was just nonplussed from start to finish, it reminded me of a film I reviewed last year called Dead Souls (2013) which again was just a middle of the road watch.

The disc from Image Entertainment includes two audio commentaries and a behind-the-scenes making of doc that's actually a decent watch. A group of friends making a scary movie using a childhood home, I love a grassroots production I just wish I had loved the finished film as much as the participants clearly enjoyed making it.

Special Features:
- Commentary with Writer/Director Jeremy Berg, Producer Matt Medisch, and Writer/Producer John Portanova
- Commentary with Actors Trin Miller, D’Angelo Midili, and Andi Norris
- The Making of The Invoking: Behind the Scenes Documentary

Verdict: The Invoking (2013) just didn't do it for me - there's a lot of similar themed movies out there mining the same vein and it just didn't do anything to set itself apart - not a film I would revisit. Not awful, just middle-of-the-road. The disc comes out in the UK on May 12th and is currently available in the US also from Image Entertainment. 2 Outta 5