Southern gothic supernatural thrillers seem to be gaining some momentum lately. "Last Kind Words" and "A Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia" immediately come to mind. The middle of nowhere is a cheap and easy place to make a movie. There's no denying that there's very little creepier than the darkness of the woods and the isolation felt in a rural setting. RLJ Entertainment's "The Invoking" is another fine example of what can be done with a small budget in the backwoods of any state's countryside.
Samantha Harris and her friends embark on a trip to visit a house she's inherited from a family she's never met. As soon as they arrive, Samantha starts having terrifying visions she can't explain. Are these haunting experiences trying to reveal something about her forgotten past? Can she trust the young man commissioned to watch over her new property as he slowly opens up to Samantha about their past friendship she can't remember?
Producer/Director/Co-writer Jeremy Berg knows how to drum up scares without the use of fancy special effects and CGI. His style is reminiscent of Hitchcock and the likes. He works more on your nerves and jump scares than most new filmmakers. Sometimes having less money to work with makes you try harder to create genuine scares without the crutch of modern technology.
There are some impressive special features included in the DVD version of "The Invoking." Two audio commentary tracks are provided with the actors, writers, producers, and Director Jeremy Berg. A "Behind the Scenes" documentary really makes you appreciate the effort the filmmakers and cast put into making this movie in record time on a micro-budget.
Although it's not rated, "The Invoking" does contain material some might find objectionable. There's violence, adult situations, and language in it. However, no nudity is found. I would say if it were put in front of the MPAA, they'd give it a PG-13 rating.
"The Invoking" is a worthy entry in the gothic horror sub-genre. The movie is made even scarier because it takes place in a house that's fairly modern (think 1980s style) versus the overused centuries-old mansion we're so used to seeing in supernatural films. Although it's not perfect and some of the acting is rough, the overall atmosphere and story trumps any negatives you could pick out.