Kyle Says THE INCANTATION Doesn’t Cast The Right Spell

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Horror is a tough genre to hit right in today’s modern cinema. Filmmakers and screenwriters really have to have a unique idea to make themselves standout. The Incantation is a little independent film directed by Jude S. Walko that tells the story of a young American girl who visits her ancestors castle in south France and the secrets she discovers down there. Could this be a successful horror hit that stands out amongst the masses? Sadly, the answer is no. While not a terrible film, The Incantation just proves frustrating as there are some good ideas here that can be appreciate but are not executed to their full potential.

As previously mentioned, the plot follows a young woman named Lucy who is caught in the middle of an unsettling situation. She discovers her family has dark secrets that caused them to be isolated and different from others. Sound familiar? That’s because this film has many similarities to Hereditary which is currently in theaters now. This is an unfortunate circumstance for The Incantation as they both present unique ideas, but one is just in the spotlight more. The problem really is Hereditary did it much better. While it’s unfair to compare a major studio film to a little independent film considering the financial backing, the similarities are obvious.

The two bright spots of The Incantation are the directing from Jude S. Walko and acting from Sam Valentine and Dean Cain. Walko’s directing style here is very unique. He sets up the tension very well and makes you feel uneasy throughout. There are no jump scares here or cheap gags, instead we get an unsettling feeling as we know something is not right and are put in the shoes of the protagonist. Sam Valentine plays the protagonist and she is an actress to keep your eye on. She is committed to the role and feels like someone who is out of touch with the world she is surrounded in with how we see her vlog and take selfies in the middle of a castle. She has an innocence about her which makes you more uncomfortable because you know something bad is coming. Finally, Dean Cain is a great supporting character. He brings a gravitas to the role of a man who clearly is too nice not to have a secret. He just randomly appears, and Cain makes it come across as normal.

This unfortunately brings me to the rest of the supporting cast which was mostly disappointing. None of the other characters are memorable. They are given no depth and feel stale. Some of them are given big roles and you do not feel the weight of them because they are coming from such one-dimensional portrayals. Something else that I feel really weighed down the film was the budget. You could just tell that something more was needed and had they had more money, they’d really have a solid film.

At the end of it all, The Incantation is a nearly satisfying horror film that has big ideas that come up short. The directing by Jude S. Walko is solid and the performances by Cain and Valentine are worth admiring, but the rest is just average. The Incantation comes out on home video soon and if you are an independent horror film lover, I would encourage you to seek this one out but do not expect much.