Film Review: Seance The Summoning (2011)

SYNOPSIS:

When wanna-be punk singer Joey (Bobby Campo) and Eva (Nazneen Contractor) have a bet to validate if spirits beyond are a thing of fact or fiction they set out to video document a séance held within the local city morgue. Together with Marcus (Chris Olivero) the mortuary’s security guard and Christian friend Sara (Devon Ogden), the teens soon get far more than what they’d bargained for opening a porthole for pure evil to lurk and wreak utter havoc.

REVIEW:

Séance The Summoning (2011)
Directed by: Alex Wright
Berkshire Axis Media
Starring: Bobby Campo, Nazneen Contractor, Chris Olivero, Devon Ogden

Séance works on so many levels the audience is forgiving of the minor short comings presented throughout the film. Arguably any film written on the basis of the after-life and forces of evil presents a most thought provoking, hair raising experience for even the most cynical of critics. The picture is shot in HD glory making the viewing experience esthetically pleasing even throughout the most disturbing of content. Clear, crisp and vibrant cinematography brings our unusual characters to a plateau of larger than life. For the post-pubescent/adolescent viewer ultra charged with coursing testosterone both Eva (Contractor) and Sara (Ogden) are extra easy on the eyes. While Eva is kind of a poor man’s Rosario Dawson, Sara reminds me of a hybrid of adult film star Kagney Linn Karter and Naomi Watts. The cast is half descent and reasonably unknown which always seems to work best with a production such as this. Truth is the actors and actresses can actually perform, delivering memorable dialogue and a myriad of emotion.

Naturally there is some cheese factor involved which seems to be as synomonous with low budget horror as comedy and laughter but by the grace of Lucifer it’s not overkill and the plot moves along at a captivating pace. Rising tension is effective as Joey pulls out all the stops to try and discredit his girlfriend Eva’s esoteric abilities in channeling spirits from beyond.

The setting chosen in a quiet, distant morgue works well in conjuring up suspense and sheer terror. The use of light and shadow depict a most eerie mood that clearly demonstrates that often less is more in stylistic shooting such as this. I particularly admired the set design of the mortuary’s grieving parlor like room where the actual summoning ritual takes place. Post Victorian era décor of the furniture, draperies and carpeting create a regal if not dark and foreboding atmosphere. It’s refreshing to see a director aware that you don’t necessarily have to have buckets of blood and gore in order to get the point across. The use of subtlety keeps the audience engaged, involved and in angst of the next heart racing scene.

What seemed a little out of context was perhaps poor delivery or directing in having a born again Christian attend the festivities for lack of better expression, ‘just for the hell of it.’ The invitation is a fore-shadow of things to come yet we as the audience cannot help but be offended by the overt, in your face illustration of a steadfast good versus evil tale. Without God there cannot be Satan and vice versa, we’ve all heard this one since the dawn of time. Seeing as how the director executed such style and nuance in other manners it’s borderline frustrating how this is so convoluted and predictable. Although Sara’s presence is relevant we begin to sense the film is a recruitment video for the Church of Jesus Christ Latter day saints rather than a good old fashion scream flick. The scenes where Eva and Sara return repeatedly in attempt to exorcise the demon within their friend Joey begin to feel more like vignettes for bible camp advertising rather than a polished Satanic themed film. Perhaps director Wright would’ve been best advised to take notes from one William Peter Blatty or even Eli Roth on these scenes.

Easily the redeeming qualities were Joey’s (Campo) performance while possessed, restrained to an embalming chair. As he writhes around, twisting and contorting we cannot help but look away and peer back again through parted fingers, genuinely disturbed by his venomous rapport.

The sound effects contribute to an eerie, creepy feel as simultaneous voices and shrieks are unleashed making the viewer’s skin crawl. For the most part Séance was a worth while experience. What really threw me off was the final climax and how absurd it’s presentation wreaked out of place. The finale was so misshapen I couldn’t help but hope there is a DVD copy lurking out there somewhere with alternate endings. I won’t spoil it for the scream aficionado but would love to debate it’s relevance with other horror fans.

Two out of five tombstones.

Seance The Summoning is now available on DVD per Lionsgate Entertainment

Seance The Summoning (2011)

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2 Responses to Film Review: Seance The Summoning (2011)

  1. BlasterCA says:

    Are you kidding me? It was in no way creepy, cringe worthy or engaging. None of the performances were worth noting. The most engaging part was trying to figure out if it’s a Christian propaganda film. It’s not. All it is is bad. Anything more than half a tombstone is being generous. 2 is incredibly generous!

  2. Neshama says:

    What brain dead, uneducated, hack made this garbage?

    Its not just offensive, its a crime against nature.

    There was no actual research done for this movie, its just bs muddled with nonsense and a lot of gobbledygook thrown in and mixed together. Wala, this insult.

    Let’s start off with with its beginning wording.

    Wrong. There are more than two kinds of people. Those that believe, those that don’t, those that are unsure, and those that know based on experiences.

    Santeria has zero to do with Wicca. So why would any Santerian use wicca terminology, especially gardnerian wicca? They wouldn’t and don’t.

    That whole perfect love and perfect trust line was ripped straight from the craft. You do not use that ever, especially when using an ouija board. In fact, you don’t create a circle at all unless you are creating a circle of protection.

    Now there are 5 Elements to summon, not 4. East does not represent the Element Air, unless the sun referrers to a big burning ball of Air. I don’t think it does. East represents Fire and a Red candle is used. South represents Air and a Yellow candle is used. West represents Water and a Blue candle is used. North represents Earth and a Green candle is used, not purple. Center (which was not even summoned) represents Spirit, here is where the purple candle is used. So that “circle” was incomplete to begin with. This is basic Paganism 101 (not the new age hippy bs stuff).

    It can be found if some actual research is done. And no East/Fire and South/Air are not interchangeable.

    Now as for using the ouija, you do a protection spell/ritual first, before use. Its to protect all using or being near the board. If she was actually Santerian like her grandmother taught her, she would’ve known all of this.

    Demons do not automatically possess a human like that. Even after touching the eye/planchette. They prefer to do other things.

    Oh and you cannot get a Demon to “pass on” or into the next dimension. They already come from a dimension much higher than Earth.

    A Santerian, Pagan, Occultist, any of us would never have to convert to deal with Demons. That is just flat out bs. You can use any ritual that is to expel demons, however that is only if you believe in what you are saying. The hack got right, you must believe in the words that you are saying..

    As for that whole making her a queen thing? Nonsense!

    The whole beating up the person that’s possessed. Are you kidding me? That will not do anything. A demon is a thousand times more powerful and stronger than humans.

    This whole movie was one big insult, made by uneducated brain dead hacks. The information was completely incorrect and, badly researched.

    This is not because of other movies I saw, its because I am a Polytheist/Occultist Demonologist/Demonolatress (Non Religious), High Priestess. I have been researching and practicing my entire life, so I know was is accurate and what is a second rate hack job with nonsense thrown together.

    I would love to meet the people that created this movie. For one simple reason. So I could punch them in the face.

    I stand by what I said earlier. Its not just offensive, its a crime against nature.

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