★★★★ Directed by: Jude S. Walko Written by: Jude S. Walko Starring: Sam Valentine, Jude S. Walko, Dean Cain, Dylan Kellogg, Beatrice Orro Indie Film Review by: Chris Olson
Fairytale and nightmare meet in this paranormal adventure film from filmmaker Jude S. Walko. Utilising cinematic flair, picturesque settings, and a touch of melodrama, The Incantation is a journey of self discovery where the ride may very well be the highway to hell.
Sam Valentine plays the lead, Lucy, an American in Paris (well, almost) who is in town for the funeral of her estranged uncle. Upon arrival, Lucy's journey into the French countryside goes from odd to bizarre as she meets the peculiar individuals who reside in her uncle’s glorious castle. Such as the creepy priest (Walko) and the uneasy chambermaid (Beatrice Orro). After settling in and starting to explore the location, she also meets the local gravedigger (Dylan Kellogg) who may form a suitable love interest, as well as an intriguing salesman (Dean Cain), both of whom start to pique within Lucy a growing sense of unease about her family's legacy in the area.
Smartly gothic at times, with some nice injections of humour, Walko proves himself to be more than capable of juggling numerous themes and tones in his indie film The Incantation. The blend of intelligent cinematography with a palpable sense of tension within the atmosphere allows the audience to be suitably immersed within the narrative, which is mostly a schlocky horror story. By the final third of the film the antics start to feel like Buffy meets Dracula: Dead and Loving It, however, the enjoyment level is still maintained due to the strong character development.
The performances are satisfying for the most part (french accents aside). Valentine is a great lead and as her character’s backstory gets revealed, her turn becomes increasingly compelling. Walko is also great as the verbose clergyman, operating as the movie’s most engaging antagonist. The chemistry between Valentine and Kellogg's local country boy is nice, however there are a few scenes where the clunky dialogue gets the better of them. Dean Cain also puts in a memorable and charming performance, coping well with the outlandish plot developments.
If you are a fan of rudimentary horror flicks, then the storyline of The Incantation will fail to distress you too much. Those viewers who like their fantasy, horror, adventure films to do more than a family-curse-goes-to-Europe routine may prefer to keep their copies of Bram Stoker handy. Overall, though, a tidy entry that borders on the lighter side of horror, and one that goes the extra mile to cater for the audience.
Watch the official movie trailer below...