1st Summoning (2018)

Director: Raymond Wood.
Starring. Hayley Lovitt, Jason MacDonald, Teddy Cole, Brook Todd, Ace Harney. USA. 1h 37m.

Knowing that this Indie Movie is both found footage and about possession it’s a no brainer what’s going to happen, check out my list of what to expect in a possession, exorcism and demonic movie. but with indie movies, there’s usually a degree of experimental artistic license and providing they don’t play it safe, there can be amazing results. Sadly this film falls into most of the typical plot holes and ends up flopping around like a dying priest before expiring in it’s own unoriginal mess.

So four student filmmakers head out to investigate and explore an abandoned warehouse that was connected with a secret occult group, the hearsay has them curious but the closer they get to this mystical site the more strange people they encounter. and the unexplained becomes a regular occurance as they all try to document the unnerving events around them and it just happens to be enough to make a full film, in between boring long shots from cameras left around they also manage to document everything while running for their lives.

No one really stands out, the main character is quickly possessed by something, it’s pretty obvious the audience as he’s coughing up black blood and starts acting robotic, but despite the subject of their adventure his girlfriend and crew don’t correctly add up 2 and 2, they also don’t prep themselves for what might happen if the rumors are true. so really it’s great that they exit the gene pool in buckets of blood. But this film isn’t gory either, some shit happens but it doesn’t go anywhere, it can’t decide it wants to copy Blair Witch (1999) or Chernobyl Diaries (2012). The only person that left a slight impression was a dickhead catalyst character who kept throwing away a Alchemy Gothic styled Baphomet pendant that kept turning up again and again, but his constant taunting of the evil spirits was never mentioned despite having captured it all on film.

There’s a strange priest who comes across and looks like Peter Poppov but that’s probably the highlight of the movie along with a batty old woman who scares them in the night, the rest is just a dry dull ride into predictable jumpscares and not a lot more. it’s a shame, no serious budget shouldn’t result in no serious imagination.

Woods expertise seems to be in short movies, his award winning shorts are better structured and more compelling, it feels as if he’s lost with the open freedom of a longer length project, his previous 74 minute horror is a similar student found footage movie The Canadoo (2016), where a group are selected for a survival TV show. It’s a set up which he’s obsessed with and I can only hope with this practice he lives and learns, I’m pretty certain that it’s something that will work one day, outside of Scooby Doo. It would be a shame to see the same director make the same mistakes again and again.

Rating 2/10

RThe Canadoo (2016), Blair Witch (1999), Chernobyl Diaries (2012), The Blackcoats Daughter (2015)
L – Found Footage B Movies 2018, A-Z of Found Footage, Possession

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