The Invoking (2014)

The Invoking is bad. Really bad. Unwatchable bad. So bad it took me three sittings across two weeks to watch the entire thing. I gave it a fair shot… but it actually deserved to be shot. In the face. Then set on fire and buried in consecrated ground under a full moon. The Invoking is bad.

The plot? After randomly inheriting a house from a family member she can’t remember, Samantha Harris (Trin Miller) and her three awful friends head to rural Sader Ridge to inspect it, possibly with a hope to sell it or live there.

They meet Eric (D’Angelo Midili), a strange local with clear ties to Sam’s forgotten past, who might be a lovely guy or a total psychopath.  Shortly after arriving, Sam begins to experience some bizarre waking-nightmares, where her friends begin channelling other people and Sam begins to realise – really fucking slowly! – that she’s witnessing moments from her past, played out in some kind of crap am-dram possession.

Then people begin to die. There’s no surprise how and the film ‘invokes’ zero suspense or scares. Then the ending happens, which is even more ridiculous than the preceding 400 hours (at least that’s my estimated runtime, based on how long it felt).

Purportedly made for $11,000, this is a very low budget for an American film and undoubtedly made with love, passion, spit, chewing gum and a thousand favours… but it is no excuse for the poor results. The acting is weak, possibly due to the dull script. The dialogue is boring (“What were my parents like?”, “They were parents I guess”) and the characters are left mostly personality-less.

Possibly the fault of the audio-layback – maybe the acting – but the dialogue also sounds like its dubbed, coming across as stilted and awkward, with long, pregnant pauses during nearly all the conversations! The opening scenes are almost impossible to watch without checking your audio setup. It is genuinely painful.

It is not ALL utterly terrible, however. The Invoking does have a haunting score and some lovely cinematography, but this quality technical work cannot cover the fantastically boring script and incredibly-bad acting. As a debut feature, Jeremy Berg’s direction is decent but his scripting is uninspired, despite the aid of two other writers.

Despite the otherwise woeful acting, D’Angelo Midili shines as Eric and the one actor I’d love to see in something else (and something better). He was believable, compelling and managed to convincingly chew through the rotten dialogue.

Overall The Invoking is one of those films that give low-budget Horror a bad name. Not because it’s gross or controversial, but because it’s dull and awkward and awful. Titled “Sader Ridge” in America, I have no idea why this film was renamed for UK audiences and called “The Invoking”. Nothing was invoked. It should’ve been called “The Snoozefest”. Hopefully the filmmakers will pick themselves up and make something excellent next, because The Invoking isn’t worth your time.

Rating: ½☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.