Directed by Humberto Rosa and Thairon Mendes
A group of teenagers decide to have a weekend away of fun, boozing and nookie at an abandoned youth hostel on a small island. After reaching their destination by car and rowing boat, the teens settle into their accomodation which is without electricity. Undeterred, the teens light a fire and candles and decide to attempt a seance having heard that wicked souls of criminals were buried on the island. Using a glass tumbler and letters written on paper, the group end up connecting with a spirit looking for their children. Spooked, the teens try to end their seance but it seems the spirit hasn’t finished with them yet…
Found footage horror INVOKED takes place in Sligo, Ireland. The opening of the movie sees two guarda officers armed with cameras entering an empty hostel to discover a mess inside with a video camera on its side. The rest of the movie is the footage from that camera that goes some way to explaining the events that have transpired. The footage is your typical fare as three young guys and two girls, both girls romantically linked to two of the lads with the cameraman without a girlfriend, are looking for a weekend of fun and frolics. Why you would film the entire weekend instead of enjoying it, I’m unsure, but in today’s age of YouTube and the like, who knows what goes through their minds. Upon entering the youth hostel, it’s easy to predict the events that ensue.
Unfortunately, INVOKED has fallen into the horror hole that so many budget horror movies have done in recent years. There’s nothing original about this movie as it appears to tick the boxes of the typical horror checklist: Found footage? Check. Darkness? Check. Ouija board seance? Check. J-horror style ghosts? Check. Teenagers being haunted in an abandoned location? Check. Grisly backstory? Check. Character being dragged away by ghost? Check. The list goes on and there’s very little of interest here to keep a film fan, not to mention a horror fan, entertained. It plods as it attempts to drum up scares but it struggles so much with dialogue and pacing that it simply isn’t interesting and lacks the scare-factor for horror fans. This type of film has been done to death that there’s nothing left anymore and INVOKED doesn’t change that.
Whilst the film has issues with pace, script and screenplay, the problem I encountered most when watching INVOKED was that I couldn’t tell what was being said due to the characters talking over one another at the same time. I know the filmmakers were most likely opting for realism but when shooting a film, realism sometimes has to be sacrificed a little so that the film and its dialogue are comprehensible. As it stands, there’s plenty of moments when I just can’t make head nor tail of what’s being said. This occurs in casual scenes as well as the tense horror moments, so it can be a bit infuriating as it distracts from what’s going on.
Being a found footage film, INVOKED utilises that all-too-familiar shaky cam. As someone who suffers motion sickness, the shaky cam does cause issues. Not long afer the opening of the movie I felt sick. It’s not as bad as Irreversible but enough to make you physically unwell so just a word of warning for fellow sufferers out there.
Show this film to someone who doesn’t normally watch horror and it might give them the chills but you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who’ll be willing to sit through a bunch of teens talking over each other. Coupled with all the genre cliches, INVOKED is merely a stereotypical horror of recent years that struggles to conjure up anything new.