The “found footage” horror sub-genre has had its fair share of stinkers, but movies don’t get much lazier than 1st Summoning, an entry that seems to be as anti-audience as it is anti-climactic. Here’s a movie that sheepishly grits its teeth, waiting for viewers to pity it.
Judging by the indifferent performances and the stagey filmmaking, it appears director Raymond Wood doesn’t want to make a “found footage” movie. But, judging by how haphazardly the film is shot and how poorly the audio is recorded, he does want to make a movie that can easily be thrown together in a way that would so-happen to compliment the style of a faux amateur documentary. Ditto for screenwriter Chris Piner, who should’ve kept his dialogue shorthand rather than giving characters mounds of baggy exposition.
The big problem with 1st Summoning is that it doesn’t consider to entertain anyone with any of its available resources. The production has potential: locations, a tight team of actors, shadowy cinematography, a somewhat compelling albeit thinly veiled lore to its story. Unfortunately, these pieces are squandered and played broadly to manufacture a typical campfire urban legend.
To make something more run-of-the-mill, the scares have to be spot-on, but even those are unenthusiastic. For the crème de la crème, the film banks on cloaked individuals to step out from behind walls wearing cheap masks. These extras may be having the last laugh though – they will never have to admit to starring in this dud.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie