Written & Directed by Jeremy Berg
Starring: Brandon Anthony, Carson Holden, D’Angelo Midili, Trin Miller, Andi Norris, and Josh Truax
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.
Originally titled Sader Ridge, The Invoking focuses on Sam Harris (Miller), a young woman arriving to her recently inherited property in the woods. Enter trauma, right? Sort of, while a baleful atmosphere permeates the film, I’m glad to say this is a character-driven slow burn. The Invoking is well into the second act before things go bump in the night. The methodical approach works well in the rural atmosphere and I have to admit, portions of the film had me hyper-aware. I hate to watch a contemporary film with shit dialogue. If you can’t write real conversation, your film is going to suck even if a master directs it. This film feels real, and flows almost effortlessly at times.
Sam gets a run down from caretaker, Eric (D’Angelo Midili), and soon finds the home has more history than she remembers. While we’re trying to figure out Eric’s character, Sam has a visceral reaction to her old home place. Vivid hallucinations take hold, leaving her mentally unprepared for the horror to come. If you go into The Invoking ready for a standard slasher flick, you’ll be surprised and disappointed. Berg has darker, headier things in mind, and I was thrilled to see a horror film that kept me guessing. Sprinkle in a little religious overtone, a sprawling forest, a group of friends giving into discord and tension, and you have a great horror flick that’s wants to misdirect you.
The Invoking was filmed on a micro-budget of $11K and shames huge Hollywood horror films. Indie filmmakers approach things differently, often firm that a story and characterization are the most important elements. What good is a one million dollar FX budget if your film is shit at the core? The Invoking is a tense and disturbing psychological film, that crushes big budget films like Devil’s Due, The Purge, You’re Next and a host of big budget letdowns.
The Invoking is available on DVD, digital download and VOD February 18, 2014 – I urge you to catch it.