‘We Summon the Darkness’ isn’t a homage film to 80s slasher film, its shot entirely in the vein of. As such, it has all the pro’s and undeniable cons which go along with that moniker.
The plot opens with a group of rock chicks cruising in a badass truck, sporting an equally bad attitude, naturally making their way to a heavy metal concert. On the way, courtesy of some period retro TV we hear of a satanic cult who are terrorising the countryside. Undeterred, the trio push onwards to the gig. Upon reaching the concert they hook up with a group of guys with whom they enjoy the show with and then head back to their father’s country house.
That is when the real fun begins.
Right from the get-go this film is just there, on the nose, with the 80s styles and pacing. Excusing a less than subtle similarity to the opening of Hooper’s ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ – in this case a rabbit in place of an armadillo melting into the asphalt – ‘We Summon the Darkness’ doesn’t take long to establish its own identity and doesn’t spend much time at all on scenes which letting you know, that it knows, that you know all its horror influences – avoiding a typical frustration I have with many throwback movies.
The characters are cliché but played with conviction. The bad-girl attitude, and all conversation that goes with it just stays the right side of cringey. What impressed me the most, particularly in the first half of the film, which let’s face it, isn’t always a highlight of many slasher style films, is the pacing. I won’t lie, there wasn’t a huge amount going on, but there are enough diversions provided to sufficiently get to know the characters, get just enough exposition to keep you interested, so much so, that when the slasher stuff happens, the film still felt fresh.
With regards to the violence, well, this is that pro/con thing I spoke about in my opening line. This film isn’t a body count style slasher, and in some ways, rather than have a typical stalker setup, this plays out as a home-invasion style. There is a bit of twist and turning in the story, but by and large, once it kicks off there is not a huge amount variation. That is not to say its not entertaining, but after a vibrant and varied first half, it was an odd change of pace. Thankfully, the violence is very period suitable – think mid-80s, restricted budget slasher. Its not very gory, but it is bloody and at times quite brutal. There are no standout scenes, but there is enough violence to keep pace, and right up to the end, where to be honest I had hoped for some big glorious gore-soaked finale, however what you get it decent enough and there’s no feeling short changed.
I guess from a critique point of view, there’s nothing particularly standout about the movie either, in the same way it doesn’t have any glaring shortcomings; perhaps just needed a couple more signature gore sequences to seal the deal. Regardless though, it’s a solid 90 minutes of satisfying slasher mayhem.
Overall, there’s not a lot more I need to say. ‘We Summon the Darkness’ is a simple, entertaining slasher whose story presents some good ideas, admittedly with some misses to, but enough good bits to give the movie its own identity. In the same vein, slasher fans will enjoy the feel, aesthetics and various little nods and references the movies from the 1980s. In a period of time where everything appears to have conscience and principle, it was nice to just watch a movie which was happy to present as mindless genre entertainment.