During the height of Satanic Panic in the ‘80s, heavy metal became enemy number one by evangelicals. It was widespread fear and belief that the music genre was to blame for luring wayward teens to Satan’s door. It’s with this in mind that We Summon the Darkness crafts a throwback midnight movie full of well-rendered characters, metal mayhem, blood sacrifices, and a whole lot of fun.

Val (Maddie Hasson), Beverly (Amy Forsyth), and Alexis (Alexandra Daddario) are a trio of metal-loving best friends on a road trip to a concert. An incident on the road causes them to seek retribution against strangers Ivan (Austin Swift), Kovacs (Logan Miller), and Mark (Keean Johnson) in the parking lot of the concert, but they quickly become friends over the course of the evening. So much so that the gals invite the boys back to Alexis’ secluded home for an afterparty. But America has been coping with a wave of Satanic murders, and it intersects with this gathering in a major way. The lives of these six fast friends become irrevocably altered.

Penned by Alan Trezza (Burying the Ex) and directed by Marc Meyers (My Friend Dahmer), We Summon the Darkness is stacked with extremely likable, fully realized characters in a fully fleshed out world. There’s a shorthand between Hasson and Daddario that implies a deep bonded friendship between their characters. Moreover, they’re clearly having an absolute blast in their roles. Both performances are so magnetic that we want to spend the entire film with them. When Forsyth’s Beverly emerges as the lead protagonist, we’re still not so secretly rooting for Alexis and Val. While Ivan, Kovacs, and Mark are all amiable and serve their roles well, they take a backseat to the trio of ladies.

The ‘80s setting never feels overly nostalgic either. Sure, there are the hair and clothing styles, music references and dialogue, and humorous needle drops, but it’s not played up to excess. Meyers keeps the focus on what’s important; the characters and story. It’s refreshing.

Trezza and Meyers aim to keep the audience on their toes, shifting expectations as the narrative presents new unexpected layers to this group’s fight for survival. Mostly because the middle act falls into a gleeful comedy of terrors rhythm that forces the characters to make hasty decisions with catastrophic consequences. There’s bloodshed, there’s a little suspense, and it’s played with reckless abandon.

The third act gets a bit messy, falling into more familiar ground. There’s some scathing commentary on organized religion that emerges, but the film mostly glosses over it. Meyers keeps things from going too dark or over the top, playing it a little too safe at times instead. We Summon the Darkness is content to be a crowd-pleasing horror-comedy best consumed with pizza and beer, and it worms its way into your heart because of that.

This film crafts its story around an interesting “what if” scenario involving the ‘80s Satanic Panic craze that gripped America with fear. Ultimately, it doesn’t reinvent the wheel or present anything we haven’t seen before, but it’s so damn fun that it’s hardly a flaw. A throwback horror comedy that offers up just enough surprises and a pair of scene-stealing performances by Hasson and Daddario will make you throw up a pair of devil horns and hail Satan.

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Author : Meagan Navarro

Publish date : 2019-09-22 18:28:15