This movie was screened at Panic Fest.
Found footage horror can be a tiresome subgenre, but director and co-writer Patricio Valladares‘ Chilean film “Invoking Yell” does feel slightly different due to its female-centered story. There isn’t much else that is new or exciting, but the solid setup, charismatic cast, and visual style all help keep the film afloat for the majority of its brief 80 minute runtime (which, in all honestly, still feels too long).
The film begins with some ominous facts about the rise of black metal around the world and its supposed ties to satanic rituals, which sets the tone for this supposed true story. As with all found footage movies, the grainy, discovered recording is what we are being shown, and you have to suspend disbelief and just go with it.
Set in the late 1990s, the film tells the story of the Andrea (María Jesús Marcone) and Tania (Macarena Carrere), the two members of the “depressive suicidal black metal” band called Invoking Yell. With their cameraperson and wannabe band member Ruth (Andrea Ozuljevich) in tow, the trio of women venture into the deep, dark woods to a cursed location where ten children died in a tragic bus accident. Their mission? Record the sound of their spirits for a demo tape that will be like no other.
Valladares utilizes some truly creepy imagery that, when paired with haunting sound design, is very effective. He has a good sense for directing horror films, but much of the routine imagery feels repetitive, boring, and like a rip-off of “The Blair Witch Project.” There are scenes lit by flashlight, abandoned sheds, decaying structures in the woods, and destroyed dolls hanging in the trees. It’s all spooky and atmospheric, but things you’ve seen before. The grainy style of the cinematography does actually look like a found tape, with well-placed scratches and pops that lend a layer of authenticity.
A good chunk of the movie features women walking through the woods with a video camera yelling for Ruth, and it feels like nothing much happens. The more time you spend with these people the more irritating they become, and the dialogue is repetitive. The shocking and violent whammy of a third act is one that we all know is coming, yet by the time it arrives, it feels disappointing.
Eventually, “Invoking Yell” succumbs to the found footage curse of too much film and not enough story.
By: Louisa Moore