the summoned, 2022.
Directed by Mark Meir.
Starring Emma Fitzpatrick, J. Quinton Johnson, Salvador Chacón and Angela Gulner.
Two high-profile couples are forced to examine the cost of success when they’re invited to an exclusive self-help retreat with a sinister side.
Mark Meir’s directorial debut the summoned I’m sure it compares to both. Salt Y Ready or Not as long as people keep talking about it, and while Meir’s film can’t help but feel inferior next to those images, it’s still a respectable swing that misses the mark.
Elijah (J. Quinton Johnson) is a modest young man who works as a mechanic, despite the fact that his true passion is music. Meanwhile, his girlfriend Lyn (Emma Fitzpatrick), a rising star singer-songwriter, is invited, or rather, summoned – to an exclusive, remote self-help retreat aimed at helping wealthy clients find themselves.
Elijah joins Lyn as her escort, and there they cross paths with businessman Joe (Salvador Chacon) and his ex-wife Tara (Angela Gulner), as well as the Taika Waititi-esque figure who runs the facility, Dr. Justus Frost. (Frederick Stuart). While it initially seems like this trip might present Elijah with the opportunity to finally make music for a living, it soon becomes clear that every deal comes at a cost.
Meir and screenwriter Yuri Baranovsky certainly manage to gradually tighten the screws early on in their story; If you’ve read little about the movie, you’re probably not sure where it’s all going, and precisely what the nature of Elijah’s situation is. Most obviously, he is outclassed by his more affluent fellow attendees and, more importantly, he is the only black individual in the retreat, efficiently covering the narrative with an underlying layer of unease.
While those early scenes might suggest the summoned To be a satirical critique of the mental health recovery powers bestowed on the rich and famous, it’s really more of a stinging jab at class divisions, privilege, and how even immense talent can struggle to make it to the top. top, no matter how impressive.
In Elijah’s case, a spectacular musical sequence midway through the film confirms that he has a good set of pipes in him, and as humble as he strives to be, his frustration at his lack of success, compared to his less talented, more conventional. -biased fellow Lyn- is palpable. Frontman J. Quinton Johnson is often very good here as a man desperate to improve his position in light of a seemingly once-in-a-lifetime offer, and easy to cheer as his situation grows more dire.
There’s no question, however, that Meir’s film becomes markedly less engaging after its set-up, and once again after he fully plays his part in a third act that, without revealing too much, goes wildly off the rails. The general rumination on “sin” and the mechanics of the focal situation are too familiar and honestly uninteresting to stand out in a genre that has previously been done much better.
But it’s certainly not a bad effort; Once again, Johnson’s performance is gripping and the supporting cast’s work is generally solid, while in his feature film debut, Meir manages well with strong visual composition. Ultimately, it’s the script that doesn’t hold together, ensuring that this romp crystallizes into something more ordinary and less involving.
the summoned It starts off tantalizingly and benefits from the handiwork of slick frontman J. Quinton Johnson, but gets considerably less interesting as it goes on.
Flashing Myth Rating – Movie: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Shaun Munro – Follow Me On Twitter for more cinematic ramblings.