WE SUMMON THE DARKNESS—-as the advertising tag-line had it: “Let us prey.” Horror flick with some dashes of humor benefits from good performances and an appropriately diabolical turnabout. Modestly arrayed with just a handful of characters and sets, shot in Canada (around Winnipeg) and Chicago, it nonetheless deployed no less than 36 producers in the various definitions of that job to get the devilish details ironed out. Released in 2019, it grossed $190,760 in the few theatrical play dates allotted, then became a streamer situation (blood-streamer in this case), with a decent chance to develop a following, warped but loyal.
1988, when there seemed to be an uptick in killings with a ‘satanic cult’ aura attached, something that panicked fundamentalists, whipped up by their charlatan ministers, and the sensation-trolling press, hungry for ratings, were more concerned over than the case-conscious authorities. Meeting up at a heavy metal concert are two trios of fans, all-American girls and boys, at least of semi-demented variety. The ladies are ready-to-rock queen be-yatch ‘Alexis’ (Alexandra Daddario), viperish ‘Val’ (Maddy Hasson) and prove-you’re-worthy ‘Bev'(Amy Forsyth), a newbie who may need some goading to party with required fervor. Their counterpart dudes are laid-back ‘Mark'(Keean Johnson), amiable metal head historian ‘Ivan (Austin Swift) and slaphappy zone-out ‘Kovacs'(Logan Miller). When the post-jam festivities shift to the secluded country mansion digs of Alexis’ absent parents, a drinking game of “Never Have I Ever” turns into something more fiendish than suggestive lyrics and ripped chords.
Though the discussions the kids engage in on the assorted head-banging groups of the day are pro forma amusing, Alan Trezza’s script does over-employ lazy profanity to its detriment. Even so, director Marc Meyers gets solid work from the players and leavens the gore with some sly sick chuckles at the absurdity of the situation and the assorted mind-f’d levels of society that give it some traction. Notably sharp work from gleeful Daddario, pensive Forsyth and likable Swift.
With Johnny Knoxville and Allison McAtee. 91 minutes.