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We Summon The Darkness (Digital HD Review)

We Summon The Darkness was a Fantastic Fest hit last year, a new entry to the ever growing list of quality indie horror comedies we’ve seen in the last few years. It boasts a cast of the Alexandra Daddario and Johnny Knoxville and nifty spin on common horror plots/twists/turns. The Blu-ray is coming on June 9th, so let this digital review promote that a bit as the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented review copies of this film from going out or being easily feasible. The digital release was on April 10, so you can rent or buy it now for pretty solid, affordable pricing. Hell, the Blu-ray is only currently $16.99 to pre-order, so maybe you just jump on it (Though my review, while positive, may tell you otherwise). However, you may choose, one of the ways to watch is on Amazon Prime, and it helps the site a little when you use the Amazon Associates paid link below to do so. But, it is also available via Vudu, AppleTV and FandangoNow if those are your preferred avenues.

Film

On the way to a heavy metal concert, Alexis (Alexandra Daddario) and two girlfriends hear a news report of a local murder believed to be tied to a series of satanic killings. After the show, the girls invite three guys to join them at the estate owned by Alexis’s father, a fire-and-brimstone preacher (Johnny Knoxville). What starts as a party suddenly turns dark and deadly in this devilishly entertaining thriller that mixes tongue-in-cheek humor with nail-biting suspense.

We Summon The Darkness is a nice table flipper of a film. I had scene ads for it and was recommended it by a few people but largely went in blind as my top selling point was Alexandra Daddario. And in that regard, she’s actually given a pretty interesting role from what she normally lands and is a quite a treat as she clearly enjoys taking this avenue and really chewing up the scenery. She has a fine grasp on balancing the line between menace and camp.

Daddario aside, the film itself going in blind, was a nice little left turn movie that creeps on on you as you start to realize where its going. Its quite satisfying when you not only see it happen but as you’re questioning whether or not this is where its going. And beyond that, it has a nice clever hook that feels right in line as an almost sister film to last year’s wonderfully fun Satanic Panic. You might as well have a 1980s “fear of the devil converting our children through art and leisure” double feature while you’re at it.

With limited resources and pretty much a one location with limited space to tell the story, it does well with being brisk and making the most out of what little it has. The character, mainly the trio of women, are very fun to watch in their hijinx and interaction with one another to carry the film. Once Johnny Knoxville comes into play, it adds enough to drag it to the finish line. Its an interesting role for him, and he’s quite good in it, again managing menace and camp.

No, We Summon The Darkness isn’t some great find, but its a rather fun jaunt through horror and comedy, featuring plenty of surprise and delicious gore to satisfy your appetite. Knoxville and Daddario find themselves with some new avenues to showcase their talents, and Amy Forsyth comes out a real standout in the film. All in all, this is a fun rental or something to catch on Shudder one day, and I imagine the Blu-ray will be rather cheap sooner rather than later. There’s an ever growing list of quality indie horror comedies in the past few years and this one hangs with the best of them.

Video

Screenshots/stills are not taken from any Movies Anywhere/Vudu/Apple Movies/etc stream or digital presentation. If you find one of them is an image you would like credit for or prefer to have removed, please e-mail me (brandon@whysoblu.com) and I will take whatever action you prefer.

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p (HDX)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Clarity/Detail: As always with digital and streaming, depending on your internet connection and the given time you watch, results may vary. Given the digital sources nature of We Summon The Darkness, it impresses pretty well, with terrific crispness, detail and texture in a rather sharp image. It only lacks in a bit of the black level areas of the image, but otherwise does a pretty fine job and is very much suitable viewing for this film if you have an appropriate connection.

Depth: Depth of field does pretty well with the interior of the house, feeling free and spacious in crammed quarters. Characters move freely, smoothly and no issues occurred on this viewing with motion blurring or jitter.

Black Levels: Being a digitally shot film the black is quite more on the gray side and very apparent in faded out our super dark sequences when compared straight up to the mattes on top and bottom. Impressively there were no real crushing issues present. Finer darker details came through with plenty of information, clearly.

Color Reproduction:  Colors prove quite strong in this vivid, 80’s centric feature. Flash make-up colors, flashy fabrics and blood all bolden and pop up off the screen.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistently produce from start to finish of the film. Facial features like make-up brush lines, cheek bones, wrinkles, freckles, moles, sweat, dried blood and bruising all fair well with terrific clarity.

Noise/Artifacts:  Some darker moments get a little noisy now and then.

Audio

Format(s): English 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics: Unfortunately, We Summon The Darkness has a lossy audio presentation, compressing the heavy metal goodness of it all. Nonetheless, its an active and plenty loud track. There is good use of the surround mix here and it even simulates through Atmos channels accurately and effectively. All in all, for a rental, this is a pretty fine and admirable experience if its the only means for you to experience the film or to try before you buy.

Height: N/A

Low-Frequency Extension: Your subwoofer does a pretty average, but perfectly okay job, mostly impressing in the early going rock concert moments. Later crashing and fighting lands, but not with as much impact as you may anticipate in the moment.

Surround Sound Presentation: This is a pretty eventful mix, being able to bring to life the concert at the beginning from all around. It also knows every corner of the house and keeps aware of action happening off screen. My receiver also did a fine job in some fun simulations of over head action and additions to ambiance throughout the film.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisps. At some moments a little lower in the mix but not bothersome or hard to hear.

Extras

We Summon The Darkness Digital HD comes with no supplemental features on Vudu (Unclear if it does on other streaming services).

Summary

We Summon The Darkness is a pretty fun, unique experience that makes best of its limited resources and locations. Definitely a fresh indie horror film to check out as a rental (Or when it comes to your subscription service). The 1080p presentation on Vudu provided no real issues performance-wise on what is given, but there is plenty of room for improvements for the Blu-ray release to capitalize on. Again, check this one out as a solid rental, and if you love it, the Blu-ray is at a very fair price.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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