The 1980s, 1988 to be precise. The perfect time to bang your head, hail Satan and sacrifice a few souls for the cause. I spent much of the decade down front in the pit. I also spent a lot of it laughing at the holy rollers screaming about the evils of heavy metal. Usually right before they got caught spending church money on hookers. Writer Alan Trezza (Burying The Ex) and director Marc Meyers (My Friend Dahmer, Human Capital) have channelled this era in We Summon The Darkness.
It’s Indiana in the summer of 1988. Alexis (Alexandra Daddario, Texas Chainsaw 3D, Baywatch), Val (Maddie Hasson, Mr. Mercedes) and Bev (Amy Forsyth, Hell Fest, Channel Zero) are three friends on their way to a heavy metal concert. In the background, we hear a news report about Satanic symbols at a murder scene. And Pastor John Henry Butler (Johnny Knoxville, Jackass, Walking Tall) preaching about the evils of heavy metal.
At the show, they meet three dudes Mark (Keean Johnson, Midway, Alita: Battle Angel), Kovacs (Logan Miller, Escape Room), and Ivan (Austin Swift). Payback for them tossing a milkshake at the girls’ car turns into flirting and the girls invite them back home after the show. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that one of these groups is involved with the killings. And it’s going to be a long, bloody trip down the highway to hell for all concerned.
After Satanic Panic turned out to be such a disappointment I was hoping We Summon The Darkness would deliver the goods. And it does. The first act is a bit slow in terms of horror, but it does set the time and the characters up nicely. Trezza and Myers do a great job of recreating the period and the feel. Granted for a heavy metal horror film it’s a bit light on actual metal music, but I’ll put that down to budget and licensing issues.
As a horror movie, We Summon The Darkness is a lot of fun. The pace is fast and there’s plenty of blood. Between the main characters and some unfortunate souls who stop by at the wrong time, there’s plenty of victims. The big twists aren’t all that surprising, but it doesn’t really matter. Once the first one falls the second is pretty much a given.
I do wish they had let the setting play more of a part in the film. For all the effort they put into making the first act feel authentic, once the action starts up it becomes pretty much irrelevant. Much of it could be set in the present day without any real changes.
But at the end of the day, We Summon The Darkness is an enjoyable romp. Saban Films will release it in theatres, on VOD and Digital HD April 10th.