Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Seance: The Summoning (2011)

Seance: The Summoning is the kind of horror movie that gives horror movies a bad name. It's not as if it's THAT bad, in many ways, but the good aspects of it make the bad seem all the worse. Know what I mean? Well, bear with me and I'll try to clarify.

There's a decent (I guess) young cast assembled here, and some proper production values. The movie may benefit from being, for the most part, all in one location, and writer-director Alex Wright may know where to point the camera sometimes, but the shine doesn't cover up the stale odour emanating from almost every scene.

Bobby Campo, Nazneen Contractor, Devon Ogden and Chris Olivero play four people who sneak into a morgue to hold a seance, because that's such a good idea. Anyway, the seance will be recorded, and Eva (Contractor) expects to have success in contacting the spirits. She's a gifted woman and she knows what she's doing. Unfortunately, who would've guessed, something bad butts in and sets about, ummmm, putting a serious strain on the friendships of the quartet.

Contractor and Ogden are both okay, Olivero is pretty unmemorable, and Campo has the most fun, but none of the actors can rise above the incredibly weak script that they have to work with. Ogden suffers the most, given some characterisation so horrible and clumsy that it almost seems as if Wright initially wanted to create a parody, before changing his mind at some point.

There are a few standard jump scares, but that's about all this gets right, in terms of the basics. The characters are uninteresting and hard to root for, there's pretty much no atmosphere created (despite the movie being set in a large morgue), the few gore gags are far too fleeting to make any impression, and the whole thing is littered with dialogue about faith and morality that seem to have come from the pen of a fifteen-year-old.

It just never feels, at any point, as if Seance: The Summoning is trying. Although, in a completely different way, it IS trying.


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