Changing course is scary. If the new path is better, we face the path with satisfaction, different when the proposal changes what was comfortable and brings nothing that can justify its establishment in our lives. It is a thought that can be applied to the relationships we live, to professional challenges and even during a dilettante moment in front of a book, a series or a movie. By bringing this line of thought to the world of cinematic storytelling, we can immediately associate it with the third “Invocation of Evil,” the latest installment in the long-running franchise involving demonologist couple Ed and Lorraine Warren, portrayed with charisma. , competence and cohesion of Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga since the first chapter of this horror saga with moments of possession, exorcism and discovery of macabre objects, elements that test the faith of the characters who live numinous and generally very frightening situations.
For the reader, one observation to begin with. ‘Invocation of Evil: The Order of the Demon’ is a good horror movie, or, as it’s generally defined in criticism, a generic narrative. If the production is not bad, why associate the change of course with something uncomfortable? Perhaps that is the question that pops up until you come to the end of this text. I explain. With development well above the average of its two predecessor chapters, one usually expects something overwhelming in its third foray, in particular, experimenting with elements of the cinematic language that can keep anything to the standard of anything. which had already been presented with great quality. But that does not happen. Without the direction of James Wan, more virtuous than Michael Chaves, the filmmaker who has taken on the most current project, the third foray of the couple Ed and Lorraine Warren in one of their most controversial affairs fails. There are inspired moments, but nothing that doesn’t reach the level of drama and aesthetics of before.
Inspired by the trial of Aaron Johnson (Ruari O’Connor), a young man who in 1981 murdered a man and claimed that by stabbing him he was possessed by demonic forces, the film brings Ed and Lorraine to another challenge: to ensure that the forces of darkness do not dominate a certain family, shrouded in the unfolding of satanic rituals and witchcraft conjurations that devastate the lives of all those who revolve around those involved in this tragedy that has become a joke at the time, making headlines that satirized the situation that stopped the pair of demonologists was something very real, scary and heartbreaking, moments of draining energy and provoking faith , especially for the victims of an unprecedented curse, first for little David Glatzel (Jullian Hillard), then for her boyfriend her sister Johnson, brought to justice and defended by her lawyer on the unusual thesis of being possessed by demonic entities when he committed the aforementioned crime.
Suddenly, it remains to be regretted, given the great expectations that took me while waiting for the return of the couple and the franchise of the entertainment circuits, completely modified with the advent of the covid-19 pandemic which since 2020 has transformed our way to be entertained. As already mentioned, this time the story is directed by Michael Chaves, responsible for the franchise spin-off weak A Curse of Crying, one of the least expressive moments in this supernatural universe. By taking again the scenario of David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, it transforms the text into a narrative festival with double rhythm over 112 minutes, sometimes with too frantic passages, sometimes with slowness, without leaving much room for the subtlety which often contributes to it. the excess of fears and clichés, brought in particular by the photographic direction of Michael Burgess, a professional who delivers the usual illuminated spaces in contrast with pieces of canvas taken by a dark darkness, as if the images captured were allusions to this which was commonly done in Baroque painting. The movement and the use of closed shots in some passages work well, as does the use of the point of view, an ideal choice for mixing more open images with peculiarities observed exclusively by the characters, shared with us in a process of. he approximation that reveals something for the logo on the front, makes us jump with the scares caused by the jumpscare which has been a crutch in horror films for centuries.
In its aesthetic aspects, Invocation of Evil: The Order of the Devil expresses the aesthetic care of the members who make up the franchise’s technical team. Jennifer Spence shows us excellent work in production design, a sector that composes the sets with firm artistic direction, without any possibility of disappointing us. Everything is very well orchestrated. The mortuary, the Warren family home, the mysterious tunnels that lead us to the macabre altar that marks the end of the curse that takes the characters in the story, among many other cautious scenic territories. Longtime franchise collaborator Joseph Bishara’s soundtrack also behaves effectively, without big moments, but adequate for what is presented to us as dramatic material. I believe that it is the faithful musical translation of what is offered to the musician and, consequently, to the spectators, that is to say a percussive texture which dialogues exactly with the average quality of the film he is directing.
A story that relies heavily on sound to produce the necessary effects on its consumers, which was already mentioned earlier when talking about the deliberate use of jumpscare. here we have Jason W. Jennings as sound design supervisor, responsible for making musical stingers that reach absurd levels at times, a strategy that is not new that has become synonymous with laziness for many films. who rely exclusively on their attributes to create some impact on the viewer, even when the story itself leaves a lot to be desired. This is almost the case with Invocation of Evil: The Order of the Devil, a production that errs when it leaves the desert and scatters itself through an investigation similar to generic TV products on the subject. The possibility of dividing its end into two juxtaposed situations by an alternating montage also affects the rhythm of the film, a choice which does not allow to value one or the other side, in a process of weakening of the narrative cadence, whatever. sinful thing for a production that depends on handling fear and dread to function well.
One of the main issues that keep Evil Summon: The Order of the Demon good and not great is, in addition to pacing, the opacity of the entities that dominate reckless characters. Unlike Betsheeba and Valak, breathtaking demonic figures from previous films, here we have a less impactful threat, with less time on stage than expected, frivolous compared to the “monsters” that came before it, making it mundane and fragile, nothing of close to what had been promised by the marketing of the film, which made it clear that this was the “scariest case of Ed and Lorraine Warren”. If they invested in the Smurl saga, for example, the story that inspired the tense The House of Lost Souls, a 1990s TV movie, I think the potential of the story would be much greater. There is no point, however, in having a good plot when the direction and script are ineffective. We know that horror is a genre of scenes and I think a new turn is needed in this area of production, as Evil Invocation did in 2013, revitalizing worn out themes. With eight films in the pipeline, the franchise is showing signs of wear and tear and will need a much more intense new chapter to keep it running smoothly. For us, critical viewers, the question remains: Does Invocaverso still work? It remains to wait for more time to confirm. Let us pray.
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