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We Summon the Darkness Review

April 20, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
We Summon The Darkness
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We Summon the Darkness Review  

We Summon the Darkness Review

Alexandra Daddario– Alexis
Maddie Hasson– Val
Johnny Knoxville– Pastor John Henry Butler
Keean Johnson– Mark
Logan Miller– Kovacs
Amy Forsyth– Bev
Austin Swift– Ivan
Allison McAtee– Susan
Tanner Beard– Sheriff Dembrowski

Directed by Marc Meyers
Screenplay by Alan Trezza

Distributed by Saban Films

Rated R for bloody violence, pervasive language, some drug use, and sexual references
Runtime– 91 minutes

Check it out here


Warning: This review contains spoilers.

We Summon the Darkness, directed by Marc Meyers, is one of those sort of modern horror-thrillers that, while well-made, features a big twist that isn’t half as interesting as the movie wants you to believe it is. The movie really doesn’t need the twist at all in order to work. Still, it’s very well-made and entertaining.

The movie stars Alexandra Daddario as Alexis, a heavy metal loving hot babe going to a big hooha heavy metal concert with her friends Val (Maddie Hasson) and Bev (Amy Forsyth) in Indiana in 1988. Before heading into the concert venue, the girls meet up with three guys that are responsible for launching a chocolate milkshake at their vehicle while on the way to the concert. At first, Alexis and her friends are antagonistic towards the guys (Mark, played by Keean Johnson, Kovacs, played by Logan Miller, and Ivan, played by Austin Swift) because the milkshake incident almost ran them off the road. However, the girls sort of warm up to the guys and make fast friends with them. They all share beers before the concert, sort of enjoy the concert together, and then agree to hang out and party after the concert. Alexis invites the guys to her house that’s out in the middle of nowhere. What better place to party than there?

So the guys head to Alexis’s house and everyone starts partying in the backyard. Things go a bit haywire, though, when the guys start passing out. Why the hell is that happening? Unbeknownst to the guys, Alexis drugged their drinks. Alexis drugged their drinks? Why would she do that?

Because Alexis, along with Val and Bev, plan on killing the guys as part of a fake Satanic ritual. As we see and hear towards the beginning of the movie, Indiana and the rest of the United States are in the midst of a kind of satanic panic. People are being killed in what appear to be random killings that are inspired by Satanism. However, the reality is the Satanic killings are all part of a big hooha scheme by a famous Christian televangelist (Pastor John Henry Butler, played by Johnny Knoxville) to scare people into believing in Jesus or something. Alexis and Val are charter members of this scheme (in fact, Alexis is the pastor’s daughter), while Bev is a newcomer.

So the girls drag the guys into the house, tie them to chairs, and start the killing. Well, they try to start the killing. They do manage to kill one of the guys fairly quickly, but complications develop and their “easy” scheme goes to shit. Will the girls eventually succeed? Will the surviving guys, well, survive?

As I said earlier, the big twist involving Alexis, Val, and Bev isn’t as interesting or mind blowing as the movie wants us to believe it is. You would think that people who are essentially playing a part in order to dupe victims would, when they reveal their true selves, act differently, but the girls don’t act all that differently when they reveal the big scheme. The girls still swear, they still wear their leather jackets, and they still flaunt their asses and whatnot in their tight jeans. The only real difference in attitude is they want to kill the guys instead of just hang out with them. That isn’t enough “change” for the big twist to matter. I don’t think the movie even needs the twist. Why not just have Alexis and Val be actual Satanists/Satanic killers and then go from there? What’s wrong with a straightforward plot?

Or if the twist is necessary and the whole Satanism scheme is really just a scheme by a televangelist why not make the girls just insanely psychotic and, in that context, super devout? You can be super scary and terrifying while not saying “fuck” all of the time. That strategy would have made more sense and would have had a bigger story impact. Well, at least I think it would have.

The siege/cat and mouse part of the story is the best part of the movie, as the surviving guys try to come up with a strategy to get out of the house. The guys are not all that resourceful and they’re scared to death, which is a nice reverse on the kind of “typical slasher movie” situation the cat and mouse part of the story inhabits (you usually see female characters in this situation). And when the guys do go head-to-head with the girls they don’t have a strength advantage or anything like that. Again, the guys are scared, they don’t know what to do, and they are just trying to survive.

I do wish the movie was bloodier than it is. The gore bits that we do get are okay, but some of the death sequences probably should have chunkier than they are. I think I’ve also become bored with the “person gets stabbed in the stomach and then they drop to the ground” thing. Where’s the blood, man?

Alexandra Daddario does an excellent job as Alexis. Her character doesn’t make much sense, but she manages to always make herself watchable and interesting. Her eyes are terrifying when she’s mad/getting ready to kill someone. I’d love to see her play a completely unhinged character one of these days.

Maddie Hasson is hilariously scary as Val. She sort of believes in the scheme but you get the sense that she’s really more devoted to Alexis than anything else. She’s actually more psycho than Alexis. I think you’ll like how her character ends up.

Amy Forsyth is a bit shortchanged as Bev because you’re never quite sure what her deal is supposed to be. Is she in on the scheme, truly in on the scheme, or is something else going on with her? When you do find out what her real deal is it isn’t all that impactful. Still, Forsyth does a good job anyway with what she’s given and, man, she sure can wield a boat motor as a weapon.

When it comes to the guys, Logan Miller is the one that stands out the most as Kovacs. He’s funny, he’s somewhat charismatic, and he’s kind of an asshole but in a good way. Keean Johnson is kind of boring as Mark. And Austin Swift is funny as Ivan, although the movie doesn’t do enough with that funny demeanor.

And Johnny Knoxville is terrifying as Pastor Butler. I’d love to see a sort of spin-off movie where we see the Pastor in all of his scumbag murderer/complete fraud glory. I bet it would kick ass.

Despite its flaws, I liked We Summon the Darkness quite a bit. The plot is a bit confusing, but there’s enough good stuff spread throughout to make the movie worth your while. You should definitely check it out.

See We Summon the Darkness. See it, see it, see it.


So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: 6

Explosions: None.

Nudity?: None.

Doobage: A rabbit on the road, a box of Twinkies on the dashboard, a Ring Pop, a lack of Ding Dongs, off screen gross gas station public bathroom, chocolate milkshake throwing, constant urination, cigarette smoking, booze drinking, mini red Solo cups, fireworks prank, bullshit about Satanic murders, secret love of KC and the Sunshine Band, a heavy metal concert, a mansion out in the middle of nowhere, Metallica and Megadeth talk, a whole leather jacket thing, double cigarette lighting, off screen drugging, chair bondage, water to the face, knife to the chest, more urination, arm slicing, metal serving tray to the face, wine room hooey, attempted tourniquet, tools, barfing, a safe full of cocaine, gut stabbing, a folder full of old news clippings, a box full of money, ass slapping, homemade flamethrowers, bullet to the head, a fight over a gun, boat motor hooey, bro shit, leg slicing, more arm slicing, wine bottle to the back, bullet to the gut, cookie eating, girl fight, attempted strangulation, hair on fire, nose punching, more strangulation, a big window fall, truck attack, and a gnarly front end.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: Indiana 1988, Alexandra Daddario, Johnny Knoxville, Johnny Knoxville as a televangelist, Jolt Cola, an “Older Than Dirt” hat, radio news about a Satanic cult of killers, Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, talk of shotgunning a beer, talk of Randy Rhoads, talk of first concerts, “Never Have I Ever,” drugging, a big twist, “Heaven is a Place on Earth,” and a gnarly front end.

Best lines: “I don’t know about you but I fuck with my eyes closed,” “Girls, careful now. Why, you don’t think we can fend for ourselves?,” “It’s a chocolate milkshake. It’s a chocolate milkshake,” “At least it’s not shit,” “Happy Fourth of July dickwads!,” “All right you hippie fucks are you ready for Servants of Satan?,” “See, that’s why I’m the master at what I do,” “Who is Judd Nelson?,” “Such a fucking romantic,” “To madness!,” “You guys want to play a game?,” “Oh, you didn’t think we were going to have sex with you, did you?,” “Is she going to be able to do this? She better be able to do this,” “Holy shit, you’re the fucking cult!,” “Is it fun being so stupid?,” “Don’t you get it? We don’t give a fuck,” “I told you to stop talking,” “Beg for Christ’s forgiveness before I kill you,” “I’m gonna need a tampon, dude,” “It was probably just fireworks,” “You poor little lamb. You’re so lost you don’t even know what’s real anymore,” “I am the wrath of God,” “Oh, can you breathe? Sorry, baby,” “You really screwed this one up, Alexis,” “I’m a victim!,” and “You shouldn’t believe everything you see.”

The final score: review Good
The 411
We Summon the Darkness, despite possessing a completely unnecessary twist, is a well-made thriller featuring top notch performances from Alexandra Daddario, Maddie Hasson, and Johnny Knoxville. The movie likely would have been more successful with a more straightforward story and plot, but the plot that we do get works well enough. The movie also has some nice atmosphere and some decent cat and mouse moments. The movie hit Video On Demand and Digital HD on April 10th, 2020, so it’s available now for your viewing pleasure. We Summon the Darkness isn’t perfect, but it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re a horror and thriller fan. See We Summon the Darkness. See it, see it, see it.