INVOKED

5.5 out of 10

THIS IS AN IRISH FILM

Release Date: 17th August 2015 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Humberto Rosa & Thairon Mendes

Cast: Ciara Rose Burke, Patrick Murphy, Lynn Larkin, Craig Grainger, Aaron Gibson and Paula Phelan

Writer: Aaron Gibson & Humberto Rosa

Trailer: INVOKED

kK9IQZDRQmrDRbsoPuj9b7PQuerThe woodlands of the British Isles and Ireland must be littered with abandoned film cameras. If the number of fake documentaries / fun reels were actually real you wouldn’t be able to walk five feet without finding evidence of the supernatural on hastily left recording device. Without anything to distinguish it Invoked slinks into the queue a little bit late into the cycle to make a lasting difference. We get the standard set up of five late-teens/early 20s kids on their way to stay in a hostel on an Island somewhere off Co. Sligo in western Ireland. We get to know them (three boys / two girls) as they flirt and buy crisps at the petrol station. There’s alpha male Patrick (Murphy), his up for a laugh brunette girl, Rose (Burke). Then there’s Craig (Grainger) who wants to sleep with slightly uptight blonde Lynn (Larkin). Along for the ride is the oafish best friend of Patrick, Aaron (Gibson). As FF films go, the five get along really well.

All is well until dopey Aaron suggests making a ouija board directly after Patrick has shared a rather disturbing story about the local inhabitants of yore and yonder. Unable to revoke a very persistent spirit, the five stick around for a whole day, then try to escape when they wake up to the fact that their lives may be in danger.

The difference between this and many other FF films is that when the chills, spills and nasty bangs begin to hit the fan, the actors go bat shit as well.  If you want to witness a note perfect depiction of cold fear and confusion then look no further than the cast of Invoked. These guys prove to the makers of other shonky FF movies like Zombie Diaries, Hollow, World War Dead, Haunted etc that to make these films believable then then the cast has to be first rate. You just can’t make an FF with amateurs. So in Invoked, acting alone saves this from being just another tedious, stalk and kill movie. This film probably won’t surprise you plot wise (it tells you the outcome at the beginning – why?!??) but it will scare you. The characters are drawn well-enough for this kind of yarn and come the ending you won’t want the spirit to catch any of them. You’ll have the film on permanent rewind to find out what was in frame to throw that bowl, before you see a shape movie out of shot. The mystery itself is standard ghost territory but somehow, some aspects of this chiller will stay with you until you turn the light off the very evening you go to bed after seeing it.

5.5 out of 10 – Scary yet unoriginal found-footage horror film. Convincing and panicked performances put you in the thick of events so it’s difficult not to get swept along. Above average.

See another review by Matt ‘Cowpoked’ Ushered below

No significant acting credits for cast to date.

Advertisements

One thought on “INVOKED

  1. Review by Matt ‘Eggyolked’ Usher

    Some crazy kids go to a spooky uninhabited hostel on an uninhabited spooky island for a party. They mysteriously vanish, but helpfully leave a video recording which hints at the strange, eerie, possibly paranormal occurrences which led to their demise. It’s just possible you may have encountered this plot before, a few times. But in the mini-micro-genre that might pithily be labelled the ‘British/Irish low-budget found-footage supernatural/sci-fi/horror film revolving around mischievous teenagers/students/twentysomethings getting up to shenanigans and paying a ludicrously heavy price’ (or BILBFFSSFHFRAMTSTGUTSAPALHP for short), this is pretty good.

    So who or what is invoked in INVOKED? Obviously the crazy kids decide to contact the spirits of the dead (even without an Ouija board – they just use some paper which would’ve been better utilised for games of Hangman and Noughts and Crosses). The spirits of the dead are less than delighted at being disturbed (though it’s fair to say they were a bit grumpy anyway and definitely not resting in peace) and punish the crazy kids, possibly out of a sense of eternal spiritual injustice, or maybe because the crazy kids were laughing at the abuse that happened long ago, or maybe because they were making too much noise. Who’s to say? Anyway, the spirits are unhappy and do what unhappy spirits do to youngish people in BILBFFSSFHFsRAMTSTGUTSAPALHP.

    Although it doesn’t do anything new, or even particularly interesting, INVOKED does feel reasonably authentic, it’s creepy, and there are some proper scares. There’s an interesting mythology behind the island, and I adore the fact that this lot get on. In fact, they’re all friends! Usually these films have at least one bitter hatred, a serious rivalry and two characters having an illicit affair. But here they all seem to be buddies (unless I missed some bones of contention – some of the Irish accents were a tad strong for my delicate English ears) and they all seem to want to have a good time. Alas, they seem intent on having a good time even after scary things start happening. But no-one’s pregnant, and there are no dark secrets to reveal (well, not as far as our heroes are concerned). They’re just on holiday.

    But there are problems. Firstly, who edited the footage together? The on-screen caption at the start claims we’re about to see raw unedited footage, but there are at least three sources (video camera, CCTV, and, I think, a phone) which have been edited together to give a chronological account of events. And why do people film the stuff they film? Here we have thrilling footage of our heroes buying crisps at a petrol station, checking travel directions, and walking along corridors. And how is it that even at moments of stress and terror the camera is nevertheless able to linger on the ladies’ bottoms?

    Now, it’s fair enough that, towards the end when the spooky stuff is getting dangerous, the camerawork gets a tad shaky and the dialogue degenerates to shrill screaming of swearwords. That’s understandable given the context. But the screaming is very shrill, and the camerawork is extraordinarily shaky, leaving this

    viewer at least with a bit of a headache and a churning tummy. If only the actual threat in the story could have induced that. And my final niggle: our gang have a really bad first night full of creepy goings-on. So obviously next day instead of getting away at first light they mess about like nothing happened, and only decide that maybe they ought to get away once night has again fallen. Maybe they experienced some sort of mass-amnesia or suffer from some form of young person’s goldfish-memory?

    Despite all that (and remember that we’re talking about a genre where the competition includes such mighty tripe as HAUNTED, EXTINCTION: JURASSIC PREDATORS, WORLD WAR DEAD and HOLLOW), INVOKED does at least have a few sparks of life. The setting is both thoroughly mundane and genuinely unsettling (precisely because of its mundanity). None of the cast is particularly outstanding, but they work together convincingly and seem to be people who know each other – there’s a spirit of camaraderie, and none of the actors are self-consciously ‘acting’. They’re also believably thick, no-one shuts up to listen to what anyone says, and they run away regardless of whether there’s something to run from. In other words they behave pretty much as you might expect people to behave in the circumstances (mostly). As usual in the found-footage world, there’s little in the way of blood and gore, and lots in the way of incessant screaming and incomprehensibility. Unusually, we do get a decent view of the nemesis, and there’s a strong sense of doom and tension. Unfortunately, the film-makers, who seem to be the actors themselves by and large, can’t really keep the momentum up, but I like the way they save the vast majority of the cast until the denouement.

    This uses the same framing device as HOLLOW, i.e. we are told that the film comprises material discovered by the police. INVOKED goes a (very) little way towards showing the police investigating the incident, which suggests (if it hasn’t already been done) that the next development for the found-footage genre is for a film where we see characters actually looking at footage, reacting to it and dealing with it. I also think INVOKED missed a trick – they could have re-configured the film to show each stream of footage individually so that by watching the second or third video you finally get a fuller picture of what happened. Look, prospective film-makers, I’m giving you ideas for free here!

    If your life absolutely depends on you seeing a found-footage film, then this would be quite a good one to go for. Otherwise, you can happily live your life without it (or unhappily, depending on your life, but my point is that INVOKED will have little bearing either way), but, on balance, and this is the Britpic quote for the next DVD sleeve: better than average, with more good than bad.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s