Short Film Review “Invoke”



First, the Recap:

When one receives a strange, out of character text via cell phone, even from someone who supposedly you know, shouldn’t you really check on it first before taking it at face value?  Much less when said message has an attachment asking you to listen to it? No warning signals here or anything, of course! Yet, one young woman (Debbi Jones) is about to experience this exact scenario, even as her somewhat chill night hanging out with her boyfriend (Brett Dejager) while studying for an important exam should be taking precedence. After finally relieving herself of him, she sets down to listen to the message.

A narration (voiced by Joie Bauer) ensues about a famed serial killer Eliza Braum (Shirley Hoesing), and how if one were to state a specific series of words, it is reputed the spirit of Braum shall visit you with not-so-pleasant tidings in tow. Dismissing this as nothing more than standard superstition, the young gal decides to speak the words, then head to sleep. As the noises which awake her in the middle of the night cause the initial sense of panic to the point of attempting to make a call for help, the ramifications of her earlier decision comes brutally to life, even as several moments later, at his own place, her boyfriend’s phone rings with a new text message.

Next, my Mind:

Sometimes, this reviewer is honestly not sure why there’s a newfound level of entertainment found within certain echelons of the horror genre, one that I had originally sworn off completely, but now must admit, to a still relatively small degree, contains some well-done efforts from the indie film arena, the newest from director/co-writer Carlos Omar De Leon of which is no exception to this. Despite a complete predictability to the tale being spun and likewise predictable results, there’s no denying the inherently unsettling, creepy, and chills-down-the-spine feeling one gets in viewing this 5-minute scare fest. Thanks to the solidly executed cinematography that follows the action, the darkness the primary events unfold within, and the finale that indicates this is only the beginning of even more sinister events to come, it all plays upon the primal fears we as human beings have when it comes to the supernatural and the things that go bump in the night, them being fictional notwithstanding.

Jones certainly lives up to your horror film expectations as the prototypical young woman who ends up being just naïve enough to undertake a rash decision, not thinking anything of it with a dismissive attitude, all then brought to terrifying realization when that choice comes back to haunt her, quite literally. With baseball bat in hand, she prepares to face whatever is in her home, truly not grasping the actuality of her situation. It’s very much played with conviction by Jones, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that sense of how many times we’ve seen this overall scenario played out over time. But sometimes, you simply stick with what works.  Supporting turns by Dejager as the young woman’s ever-confident boyfriend who leaves her place that evening rather than staying, only to then be awoken by a strange text later that night, indicators for us as the viewer–yeah, he’ll be toast! Bauer provides the message narration, and Hoesing makes the most of brief screen time as the titular spectre.

In total, “Invoke” in itself is not at all breaking any new ground with its premise or even its overall look and mood.  However, the horror genre is one of the most prolific genres out there, indie or otherwise, and enthralls legions of fans with its spooky offerings.  So why not just sit back and enjoy a little taste of freakiness and realize that no matter how common and even unoriginal you might think it is, it still keeps millions of people worldwide coming back time and time again! Now, please excuse me as I have to run. My phone just keeps vibrating.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!




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