The Invoking (2013)
The Invoking is the first feature film written and directed by Jeremy Berg who also wrote and directed the short films A Measure Of Comfort (2010) and Trauma (2013).
The film begins with Sam (Trin Miller) and her three friends Caitlin (Andi Norris), Mark (Brandon Anthony) and Roman (Josh Truax)on a trip to the house and property that Sam has just inherited from a family she never knew in a rural place known as Sader Ridge. Upon arrival they meet Eric (D'Angelo Midili) the weird caretaker who shows them around. Later that night they invite Eric along to a bonfire and when he and Sam get chatting he tells her about her Aunt who recently died and left her the house and about her parents. Turns out he and Sam were close childhood friends and she lived there until she was five but she can't remember anything about him, her childhood or her parents. That night while brushing her teeth before bed Sam hears Caitlin in the next room praying which is weird as Caitlin is not the religious type. For the rest of her stay there Sam hears and sees lots of other weird and disturbing things that terrify her but also give her clues as to what really happened when she was a child and why is Eric the caretaker being so secretive.
For me The Invoking had a lot of potential but just didn't deliver on all accounts. I loved the isolated cabin in the woods setting and director Jeremy Berg made great use of the location creating some beautiful landscape shots and nice cinematography. Berg was nominated for Best Director and Best Cinematographer at the 2013 Dark Carnival Film Festival and he won the award for Best Cinematography, and it shows. This film seems to be the first feature starring role for most of the cast members and it kind of shows. Andi Norris who played Caitlin was cute but a bit annoying and quirky at times, she actually reminded me of a female version of Stephen Geoffreys (Evil Ed from the original Fright Night). D'Angelo Midili turned in a really good performance as Eric the caretaker, showing shades of Anthony Perkins' Norman Bates and getting weirder by the minute. Trin Miller played her part well as the damsel in distress who doesn't know whether she's being haunted or going crazy, and for the majority of the film the viewer doesn't really know either. Every time Sam has a vision of her forgotten past we see one of her friends reenacting a moment of violence and fear that is buried in her memory. To me this seemed to be either some sort of plot twist to make Sam paranoid of her three friends or else a clever way to save money on actors - either way a clever trick in low-budget film making. Jeremy Berg did a decent effort for a first time ,shows great potential and I look forward to see what he does next but The Invoking just didn't do it for me. The film started out as what seemed to be an interesting creepy ghost story but turned out to be something totally different and confusing and lot of things were left unexplained for me. I know that a lot of films do this to keep the viewer guessing, work things out for themselves or come up with there own ending but nowadays in an industry riddled with laziness and pretentious crap unless the rest of the film is above average or directed by David Lynch.... I just couldn't be bothered.