New to Netflix: ‘We Summon the Darkness’ Review
There is nothing better than a good horror film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Throw in a ton of laughs and maybe even some social satire for depth, and a memorable movie experience can easily be created. In walks the 2019 horror movie directed by Marc Meyers that seems to have flown under a lot of peoples’ radars – ‘We Summon the Darkness‘ – which will finally be making its streaming premier on Netflix August 8, 2020.
Staring Alexandra Daddario, Maddie Hasson, and Amy Forsyth as the film’s “heroes”, our story takes place in the summer of 1988 as we follow a group of lovely, young ladies as they travel to the heart of some small town in the middle of nowhere to see a heavy metal show. Through a series of comical events, they make unlikely friends with another group of show goers – a group of 3 metal head guys with a similar lust for a good time. They all get to know each other while sharing beers and eventually head bang at the show together like there’s no tomorrow. Not wanting the night to end, the girls invite the guys to one of their homes in town, and this is where the film really begins to pick up.
Without giving too much away, aspects of ‘We Summon the Darkness’ reminded me a lot of the 2015 film ‘Green Room‘. ‘Green Room’ played on the old story of the punk rock music scene being infiltrated by Nazis and skinheads, and ‘We Summon the Darkness’ does a similar thing by paying homage to the “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s.
The Satanic Panic was a time in which mainstream media and fundamentalist Christian groups and churches began targeting certain groups, ideas and alternative lifestyles for various reasons using tactics such as associating said groups with Satanic rituals, violence, child abuse and other “evil” things.
Heavy Metal, and pretty much all forms of alternative and dark music, has always been a very easy target, due to its embrace and use of dark imagery. While most of this imagery is typically used as allegory or even to convey thematic elements as opposed to actually pushing Satanism or Satanic ideals, it has always made Metal open to social ridicule, in a similar way to hip hop and stoner culture.
The film has no shortage of blood and horror elements, and seems to pay tribute to classic horror films of the time period in which it is set in. While using the subject matter to not only create likable characters, it also forces the viewer to question everything they’ve been told by media and religion about obscure subcultures like Heavy Metal. And as a cherry on top, Johnny Knoxville, of Jackass fame, makes a special appearance as the leader of a terrifying death cult.
While ‘We Summon the Darkness’ is definitely not a film for everyone, if you are a fan of horror and slasher movies, especially those that don’t take themselves too seriously, you will definitely appreciate this one. And even more so if you can relate as a Metal fan or really anyone that has felt a bit like an outsider for being into something that mainstream society tends to despise or even ‘demonize’ (see what I did there??).
Director Marc Meyers has crafted a sadistic tale that’s fun, well shot and full of depth. Along with his last film ‘My Friend Dahmer‘ back in 2017, which was based on the real life experiences of a close high school friend of infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, Meyers is easily establishing himself as a director that needs to be closely watched.