The Incantation – USA, 2018

The Incantation is a 2018 American paranormal horror film written and directed by Jude S. Walko (producer of SiREN), making his feature debut.

The Blue Falcon Productions movie stars Dean Cain, Sam Valentine and Dylan Kellogg.

Review:

Welcome to the Loire Valley in France. A countryside of ancestral chateaus that invoke local legends. Lucy Bellerose, an American student has travelled to France to pay her respects to a recently deceased uncle. Or, er, great uncle.

Lucy is young, beautiful and, naturally, loves to take selfies. In typical millennial form, she makes every immediate effort to stop her long car ride from the airport in order to tape herself for online “fans” documenting her journey across the French landscapes.

Once at the destination, the driver immediately fails to approach the sprawling chateau and takes his leave at the edge of the driveway. Surely red flags spring up in Lucy’s enters her new estate?

Upon her arrival, Lucy meets the intensely strange and mesmerising Vicar of Borley. The Vicar or deputy of a Bishop, questions Lucy’s motives, peering at her, while citing chateau rules and regulations. Knowing very well she will break each and every one, it was obvious that The Vicar became the favourite character to watch.

The massive chateau, containing hidden family secrets, restricted areas and mysteriously concealed rooms becomes a wonderment of exploration for the young girl as she makes her way into the unknown chambers while, of course… taping her self-indulgent adventure. Piecing together ancient writings, local gossip and tales of wealth, Lucy begins to uncover some buried truths that lay deep within her descendants, and her online obsession suddenly disappears. Changes within her occur and the mood drops into a dark place.

The Incantation is a complicated story of witches, magic, legends, and family sacrifice for immortality. Gradually, Lucy is inducted into peculiar situations between Mary, the chambermaid (terrifically portrayed by the sharp-tongued Beatrice Orro), to the local insurance salesman, Abel Baddon (brought to life by the evil side of Dean Cain!).

She becomes wrapped up into a romance with her great uncle’s gravedigger, P.J. (a rather odd and dopey Dylan Kellogg), who goes awkwardly from being a local informer to full on infatuation within the span of just two days. Unfortunately, the connection felt forced and unnecessary.

That said, The Incantation presents a somewhat slow but interesting concept with a twist. Cliffhangers are always a welcome addition to horror films and kudos to Jude S. Walko who not only pulls off a clever revelation, but managed to depict the unnerving Vicar in the process. Who’d have thought the director/writer would also be the featured performance?

Dean Cain never fails to entertain, even when subliminally covering up a sinister side to his persona. And Sam Valentine was well cast as the superficial “princess” of the chateau, Lucy. It’s a slow burning journey, albeit a unique one.

Meredith Brown, HORRORPEDIA

Other reviews:

“There were a few moments towards the end when the tension really began to build leading me to feeling unsettled however I will admit that I wasn’t terrified out of my mind. ‘The Incantation’ was more of a psychological, suspense thriller that all in all I thoroughly enjoyed! It was nice to experience a slow build (even though my impatient butt would beg to differ) instead of being faced with jump-scares galore.” Rebecca Kolodziej, Popcorn Horror

“But the script is really what lets the film down, and the convoluted plot and two-dimensional characters pull it back from achieving its full potential […] The Incantation may be a flawed film, but – thanks to the talents of Walko, Valentine and Cain – still frequently has the power to weave its spell.” Max Deacon, Scream magazine

“Forgoing blood and jump scares for atmosphere and suspense. That’s not always easy to do under sunny skies though, and the film loses it’s mood a few times before hitting its stride […] Despite its flaws, The Incantation works for the most part and is an effective film.” Jim Morazzini, Voices from the Balcony

Main cast and characters:

  • Dean Cain … Abel Baddon – The Appearing; Frost Giant
  • Sam Valentine … Lucy Bellerose – Followed; TraceThanXgiving 
  • Dylan Kellogg … Jean-Pierre
  • Margie Clarke … Ethereal Crone
  • Beatrice Orro … Mary the Chambermaid
  • Alexis Gueroult … Alain
  • Jude S. Walko … The Victor of Borley

Filming locations:

  • Apremont-sur-Allier, France
  • Bourges Cathedral, France
  • Capuchins Quarry, Paris, France
  • Charles de Gaulle Airport, Roissy-en-France, Val-d’Oise, France
  • Château de Sagonne, France
  • La Guerche Sur L’Aubois, France
  • La Tavern, Nevers, Nièvre, France (Irish pub)
  • Paris, France (Arc de Triomphe; Eiffel Tower)
  • Vereaux, France

Release:

The Incantation is currently on the festival circuit and is scheduled for release in August 2018.

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