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Amy Forsyth, left, Alexandra Daddario, centre and Maddie Hasson star in We Summon the Darkness.

Courtesy of Mongrel Media

  • We Summon the Darkness
  • Directed by Marc Meyers
  • Written by Alan Trezza
  • Starring Alexandra Daddario, Keean Johnson and Johnny Knoxville
  • Classification R; 83 minutes

rating

2 out of 4 stars

If the filmmakers behind the new Satanic-panic thriller We Summon the Darkness sold their souls in order to get their low-budget tale produced, let’s hope someone that kept the receipt. Director Marc Meyers’s sometimes funny, but more often creaky, spin on devil worship, murder and good ol’ fashioned religion has only one or two nifty ideas – all of which are sacrificed early on, leaving about an hour of footage in desperate need of divine intervention.

Matters start off fine enough, with Alexandria Daddario’s college-aged metalhead and her two friends inviting a trio of hard-rocking dudes over to her dad’s country house to party, circa 1980-something. Then things get weird and gross, but not nearly weird and gross enough. If Meyers wanted to offer something new to this frequently visited horror sub-genre (recent competition includes last year’s Satanic Panic and the thoroughly enjoyable Ready or Not), then his film needed to find something gnarly, or even baseline interesting, in the bloody pulp of the genre. Instead, it all feels like a game of ticking off cult-cinema – and occult-cinema – boxes.

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Daddario puts on a game face as she’s asked to play with the notion of innocence, and Johnny Knoxville oozes the appropriate levels of holier-than-thou sleaze as an evangelist devoted to stamping out unbelievers. But 83 minutes seems like an eternity to devote to a film that should’ve been stuck in development hell. Not today, Satan. Not today.

We Summon the Darkness is available digitally on demand starting April 10.

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