The haunted house flick THE INVOKING was released directly onto DVD in 2013. I've not seen it, nor its 2015 sequel. So as a newcomer to the series, I was surprised that part 3 is in actual fact an anthology.
It starts with onscreen text which tells us that there are thousands of unexplained paranormal occurrences each year, most of them so strange that they never get reported. Which leads into this trip around the globe, each short film purporting to be a document of such occurrences.
Our first stop is Mexico, in a short sharp shocker from director Chris Martens. This follows American student Julian (Jonathan Brugel), along with his pals Cooper (Garret Marchbank) and Eddy (John Kyle Sutton) who venture down into ancient mines in search of an Aztec temple. Thanks to the whole experience being captured on their handheld camcorders the whole thing has a "found footage" style to it. It's not remotely original - think THE DESCENT meets THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT - but it does possess an agreeable level of energy to it.
From there, we're ported over to Collingswood, New Jersey. David Weathers' film follows blonde Alice (Tessa Netting) and her dog in their apartment, where the weirdness begins by way of maggots in loaves of bread, before escalating into things of a far more sinister pedigree. This was forgettable fare.
Over in New York, a pretty tourist (Margaret Ying Drake) is taking selfies in the city centre, only to discover a hooded image behind her in each one. Whenever she turns, however, the figure is nowhere to be seen. Things come to a satisfyingly creepy end in her apartment. Max Seiler is at the helm for this one.
Patrick Rea and Kendal Sinn take us on a trip to Lawrence, Kansas, where a two-man TV crew follows a frantic couple into haunted woods in search of their missing daughter, Maggie (Sally Spurgeon). There are a couple of nice twists in store during this slightly longer offering, and I enjoyed the digs at the uncaring media.
Over in Venezuela, Caco (Pedro Gonzalez) and his pals travel to Piritu where they learn the urban legend of a ghostly road accident victim known locally as The Lady in White. Generally strong in terms of production and performances, Alfredo Hueck's film falters slightly due to an over-reliance on travelogue-type footage (and did we really need to see cast members dancing to what sounded like Pitbull covering Madness' "One Step Beyond"?!). Still, the finale - as predictable as it is - is handled well.
The next short is based in Prague, and follows the travails of young boy Michael who is suspicious of his step-sister Karin. Another nice twist awaits herein.
Ruben Rodriguez brings us back to New Jersey for a mediocre tale about a viral outbreak which has left a woman (Jenna Kildosher) contained in the apartment from Hell. An abrupt ending is the most noteworthy moment in this one.
Calvin Main's tale tells of a child who goes missing in Ohio. His parents check out camcorder that the boy had recently filmed and learn a horrific truth. Well-edited and persuasively acted, this is one of the better propositions here, using a simple but eerie concept to good effect.
Finally, we're off to Wales for Lee Matthews' 3AM. A rural yarn about a woman called Georgia (Charlotte Armstrong) who is disturbed by strange telephone calls in the dead of night. Well-photographed but undeniably clichéd and rough around the edges, this short also features as part of THE HORROR NETWORK: VOLUME 1 anthology.
The film looks generally good on MVD Visual's region-free DVD. Aspect ratios change according to which short you're watching, but things appear to be correctly framed throughout. Colours are decent, images are sharp, noise is minimal.
2.0 audio is reliable too. The bulk of the action is English-friendly, but the odd segment with foreign dialogue comes equipped with burned-in English subtitles.
A static main menu page opens the disc. From there, an animated scene selection option allows access to the film via 10 chapters.
There are no bonus features.
THE INVOKING 3: PARANORMAL DIMENSIONS is perhaps a cheeky attempt at bringing together a host of otherwise unrelated horror shorts and selling them to the public. But, why not? Despite a lack of originality on the whole, there's more good than bad here. The likes of Calvin Main and Alfredo Hueck show considerable promise.
Worth a look.
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by MVD Visual|