REVIEW: The Summoned (2022)

dir. Mark Meir

After an opening which sees a man digging a grave amongst decaying wildlife, the focus shifts to mechanic Elijah (J. Quinton Johnson), travelling with his musician girlfriend Lyn (Emma Fitzpatrick). They’ve been invited – along with another couple – to attend an exclusive self-help retreat, run by the mysterious Doctor Frost (Frederick Stuart). Little do they know however that the experience will contain sinister secrets.

As the participants grapple with their past sins the script explores how far the rich will go to maintain their status, regardless of who suffers. Elijah finds himself caught in the middle, wishing to marry his girlfriend of two-years despite some past hurt between them. Johnson does solid work here, portraying the aspiring musician whose fear of failing is side-lined by unfolding events.

Despite the promising premise however the result feels unfortunately toothless. Vital plot points are spelt out early on courtesy of intrusive exposition, whilst the slim runtime feels padded with interchangeable dream sequences. What’s most disappointing is how a nastier edge could have given this story some bite, when what’s left instead takes predictable routes in tiresome directions.

© James Rodrigues

⭐️⭐️

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