Review: ‘The Invoking’

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The Invoking is an Indie Horror/Thriller written and directed by Jeremy Berg.  The DVD release last week got a lot of press, with major promotion on Bloody Disgusting and Fearnet (which declared it a “Must-See”), so I was excited to check it out.

Read my review after the jump.

Official Synopsis:  After inheriting a house from the family she never knew, Samantha Harris (Trin Miller) and three friends head to rural Sader Ridge to inspect the property. Soon after arriving, Sam begins to experience horrific visions of savage brutality and unspeakable evil. Plagued by the sinister forces closing in around her, Sam descends into a waking nightmare when the demons from her past refuse to stay buried any longer.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t enjoy bashing movies.  I much prefer celebrating a film’s achievements and extolling its virtue.  If a film disappoints me, I usually just don’t write about it.  I figure if I didn’t like it, my readers probably won’t either.  There are times, however, when I feel duped into giving a film a spin (by great Amazon reviews or good press); in these cases, I sometimes find it necessary to call “Bullshit!”.  In these cases, my goal isn’t to punish or shame the filmmakers for making a poor product.  Rather, I want you guys to benefit from my mistake lest you get duped as well.  Public service, don’t you know.

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The Invoking sports amazing DVD cover art that features a dilapidated colonial style mansion set amongst creepy bald pine trees; there’s a ghostly figure peering out one of the windows on the second story.  It’s the kind of cover that really appeals to fans of ghost stories and haunted houses.  Well, I’m here to inform you that the house on the cover and the ghost in the window are not part of this film in any way.  There is a house, but it’s a modern Ranch style that looks like it was furnished by Lowes.  It’s a one-story and there is no peering ghost.  It’s also not set in a creepy forest, but rather a rural countryside of fields and canyons.  In other words, the actual aesthetic of The Invoking is nowhere near as cool, dark, gothic, or creepy as the cover art might lead you to believe.  Bullshit!

DVD cover art featuring creepy-ass house

DVD cover art featuring creepy-ass house

The actual boring-ass setting of The Invoking

The actual boring-ass setting of The Invoking

Webster’s defines “Invoking” as: “To call forth by incantation; to make an earnest request of”.  In a supernatural context, one might assume that this refers to characters summoning a restless spirit for purposes of illumination or revenge.  Sounds, cool, right?  But there is no invocation in The Invoking, so it’s not only an inaccurate title, it’s misleading.  Whether or not ghosts actually exist in The Invoking is debatable, but they are never called forth in any type of deliberate ritual.  Supernatural possibilities aside, The Invoking is much more of a Thriller.  The title doesn’t make any sense and it’s obviously trying to cap on the recent success of The Conjuring by striking a phonetic similarity.  Bullshit!

Whomever at Fearnet declared The Invoking is “Must-See” (a claim proudly touted on the DVD cover) should by fired.  Same thing goes for the fool at Fangoria who said this film is “Chilling”.  Sounds like someone is getting some payola.  Screw you guys for using your reputations for promoting quality Horror to pedal this dreck.  Bullshit!

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I’m not just sore because The Invoking didn’t meet my expectations.  I love being thrown for a loop by a good film and having my preconceived notions shattered.  But it’s not simply that The invoking is not the film its packaging would have you believe—it’s a really bad movie all around.  The acting is amateur, the cinematography is clunky, and the story isn’t very scary or interesting on any level.  The boring final-twist feels tacked on and unrealistic.  The film’s conclusion is befuddling.  Why The Invoking was treated to so much attention is beyond me.

Gore-hounds and aficionados need to steer clear of this disappointing mess.

1.5 out of 5 Skull Heads.

Trailer:  HERE

Release Date February 18 2014
Studio Image and RLJ Entertainment
Director Jeremy Berg
Writer Jeremy Berg
Starring Trin Miller, Brandon Anthony, Josh Truax, D’Angelo Midili
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About Saucy Josh

I write a blog for intelligent Horror movie aficionados called Blood and Guts for Grown Ups: https://bloodandgutsforgrownups.wordpress.com/ View all posts by Saucy Josh

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