Monday, December 9, 2013
The Invoking (a.k.a. Sader Ridge) ~ Indie Horror Done Right
One word: Atmosphere.
For whatever reason, a film that started out as Sader Ridge ended up with the much more horror-centric, cinema-friendly "The Invoking". I for one, prefer a title that isn't so obvious, and therefore found the Sader Ridge title more to my liking. That said, whatever the title may be, it is a film that should be sought out and watched - and one that I was pleased to have the opportunity to see while it is still on the festival circuit.
A few words about Eric. At once peculiar, his quiet demeanor and reclusive nature is unnerving, only adding to the dread that seems to creep up on you throughout this quiet film. He seems to know more than he is telling, and even with prodding by Sam, he is still reluctant to say much. He makes himself available to the group even when it's more than clear that the two other men aren't too thrilled with him being around.
Almost immediately after arriving, Sam begins to have some distracting and downright disturbing feelings being in the house. She hears Caitlin saying prayers out loud at night, and witnesses on several occasions arguments and interactions between her friends that don't actually happen. Is she realizing repressed memories? Or is something in the house trying to tell her something?
While checking out the grounds, the four visitors run into the property line adjacent to what is called Sader Ridge and though Mark and Sam aren't too enthused, Caitlin and Roman talk them into crawling over the barb wire fence and checking things out. As darkness falls, the group somehow gets separated and Mark ends up lost in the woods and Sam's visions take on a life of their own.
There are eventually some moments of sheer terror that are shocking and unexpected yet deserved. In a film like this there feels like there has to be a reward for waiting for something to happen, and we are compensated nicely here. When a plot isn't completely obvious and holds back on gruesome effects (there is very little gore), it really is so much more focused and effective.
But although the ending doesn't completely tie things up in a nice neat bow, it feels right. A short running length helps things move along, but again I have to mention we are trucking along at a turtle's pace.
But the ominous sense of dread that wraps itself around the entire film more than makes up for any lack of action and gore. In my book, atmosphere far outweighs blood and guts, and we've got the former in droves.
Keep your eye on this production company, The October People. I have a feeling we'll be seeing more quality work from them in the future. At least I certainly hope so!