Directed by Humberto Rosaand Thairon Mendes, Starring: Patrick Murphy, Ciara Rose Burke, Lynn Larkin. Horror, UK, 2015, 85mins, cert 15.
Released in the UK on DVD on 17th August 2015 by Left Films.
Five Irish twentysomethings set out for a weekend jaunt to stay at a youth hostel on a remote island off the coast of Ireland: reachable only (it seems) by rowing boat. Arriving cold and wet, they find the hostel deserted: and the electricity’s out. Lighting a fire, some candles, and some spliffs, they decide to pass their first boozy night away by holding a séance (as you do). The upturned glass whisks briskly around the table spelling out the phrase ‘my children’ in response to the question: ‘what do you want?’...
Oh dear. Yet another wobble cam found footage snore fest, offering nothing remotely original in exchange for its migraine-inducing handheld shake and back cinematography. Every cliché and limitation associated with the found footage format is present and correct in this film’s tortuously dull 85 minutes of tedium. My heart sank the moment the title card appeared to explain that what we are (unfortunately) about to sit through is: “...evidence pertaining to the case of 5 people that went missing...This footage has been leaked to the public...” blah, blah Blarney Stone.
You could easily fast-forward to the 50 minute mark without missing anything scary (actually you could skip right through to the end-credits and still not miss anything genuinely frightening).
It’s not that I take exception to its old well worn set-up: groups of kids in remote setting (near a creepy burial ground!) muck about with things they shouldn’t and accidentally invoke evil spirit. It’s just that in this case there’s absolutely no attempt to inject even the merest hint of freshness or even self-awareness into the script. All you get is a bunch of non-descript young things shouting and screaming non-stop whilst inexplicably keeping their video cameras jiggling around as they run from one dimly-lit room to another. (Side note: if you’ve just seen a ghost whilst filming on your (non)steadicam – and your mates don’t believe you – why not just rewind the tape and show them it through the viewfinder?)
So what do they actually capture on film? Is someone suddenly dragged backwards down a corridor? Why yes – how did you guess? Is there a girl with long black hair wearing a long white robe that turns suddenly and transforms her face into a generic long-droopy face CG demon scream? Why yes there is, oh you’re good! We also get some chairs tossed across the floor, some supernatural rising damp creeping along the walls, and something scuttling down a tree in the pitch black woods. I couldn’t really make it out – perhaps it was a possessed squirrel?
If you like found footage flicks, check out Adam Green’s DIGGING UP THE MARROW for a genuinely engaging take on the format. Sadly, INVOKED only invokes yawns.
*(out of 5*)