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– by Daniel Tafoya

In We Summon the Darkness, Alexis, Val and Bev are three young metalheads heading to one of their favorite band’s concerts. Before the show, they meet up with some guys in the parking lot outside the venue and share a couple of brews with them. Post-show, they all decide to head out to Alexis’ parent’s house, and what happens there will leave these three unlucky chaps wishing they never had the misfortune of running into Alexis and her comely pals.

The year is 1988, and the country is swept by a wave of murders purportedly carried out by a satanic cult. At least a dozen people have lost their lives, and the U.S. media is in a tizzy at the thought of such evil lurking out there in the world. Little do they know that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to these killings, and Alexis and her pals are just a few of those lucky enough to know the true killers and their motive. They surprise the guys they’ve brought along with them, by drugging and restraining them and plan on making them the next victims on the long list of media-hyped murders, but there’s only one problem. Bev, the newbie in their midst, has cold feet and ends up helping the fellas break free and fight back. It’s a duel to the death this one fateful night, as we wait to see who will survive to sunrise.

The blood flies and sprays, as the gals attempt to take out not just the guys but anyone else unlucky enough to happen upon their killing ground. These include a cop and Alexis’ stepmom, the latter in a hilariously brutal scene. Two of the guys they brought out to the house do fight back, and it’s a bit of a battle of improvised weaponry that rivals that previously seen onscreen in Home Alone or You’re Next. Our rooting interest is definitely in the survival of Bev and the guys, but Alexis and Val make for particularly entertaining villains.

ALSO SEE: Greener Grass Review: A Movie For Those With An Out-There Sense Of Humor

Alexandra Daddario is, as per usual, great in her role as the evil ringleader. Standing out in support though, are Maddie Hasson as her partner in major crime Val and Amy Forsyth as Bev, the friend who thinks better of their nefarious plans. Their performances as a deliciously sinister killer and an innocent ingenue who fights back respectively, made me take notice and look forward to their further work.

The score by Tim Williams plays an integral role in the film, and it was rewarded at the Screamfest 2019 awards by being chosen Best Score. Funnily enough, there isn’t a lot of heavy metal music in the movie though, apparently due to budget constraints. They did however, find the money for a cover version of a particularly fitting 80s pop hit that comes into play toward the movie’s end, and its appearance is an unexpected treat.

We Summon the Darkness is a bloody, fun flashback to days of yore. The 80s were a hell of a time for a lot of people and none more so than our fictional male leads in this movie. They get way more than they bargained for when they meet Alexis and her gal pals, and it leaves the viewer with the lesson that you can’t necessarily trust everyone you meet in a heavy metal parking lot. 

Recommended if you liked: Satanic Panic, Deathgasm, Lords of Chaos

FINAL GRADE: B-

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