Genre: Comedy, Horror, Thriller
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 14m
Director(s): Wesley Taylor, Alex Wyse
Writer(s): Wesley Taylor, Alex Wyse
Cast: Travis Coles, Michael Urie, Frankie Grande, Nicholas Logan, Troy Iwata, Noah Ricketts, Sean Grandillo, Camden Garcia, Veanne Cox
Where To Watch: Opens in select theaters March 31, 2023, Available on cable VOD and digital starting April 7 from The Horror Collective
RAVING REVIEW: In SUMMONING SYLVIA, we join a “gaycation” adventure with four friends as they take their soon-to-be-married pal, Larry, on an unforgettable bachelor weekend in a haunted residence. To keep themselves entertained, they tell stories of the house's haunted past, centered around the sinister Sylvia, who ended her child's life and hid the body beneath the floorboards. As the friends partake in an over-the-top séance to conjure the malevolent Sylvia, they find themselves accompanied by more guests than they initially bargained for.
Although the film may not be for die-hard horror fans, it supplies a generous portion of humor that captivates the audience. Brief forays into the house's unsettling history generate tension, accentuated by a surprisingly powerful score. This is, without question, more of a comedy horror than a horror film.
This charming, queer story will have viewers laughing and grinning for most of the film. SUMMONING SYLVIA excels, infusing a much-needed light-heartedness often absent in traditional horror comedies. This charming, queer story will have viewers laughing and grinning for most of the film. The grand finale, marked by a spectacular performance from a troupe of drag queens, is what we need today.
The film blends camp, mystery, and suspense while preserving its fun and spot-on spirit. Directors Wesley Taylor and Alex Wise achieve a commendable tonal balance, utilizing clever dialogue and tongue-in-cheek humor.
For a low-budget production, it never feels like it struggles to accomplish what it wants to. Although SUMMONING SYLVIA doesn't go full force into the horror/thriller genres—it skillfully incorporates elements from each without becoming overly tired by any specific style.
Despite its brief 74-minute runtime, the film delivers, although many audience members may find themselves wishing for more moments with this charismatic ensemble of characters. At its heart, the story conveys a message about friendship and acceptance, which, while not particularly subtle, is effectively executed and heartwarming.
For an independent, low-budget production, SUMMONING SYLVIA impresses with its solid visual effects, cinematography, and editing, crafting a solid genre film. The film's triumph stems from the imaginative writing by Taylor and Wise, who infuse the characters with life and seamlessly interweave humor with more profound themes. The ensemble cast exhibits outstanding chemistry and comedic timing, allowing everything to tie together perfectly.
In conclusion, SUMMONING SYLVIA provides an uplifting experience for those seeking a film that blends just a little spookiness with lighthearted fun.
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[film courtesy of THE HORROR COLLECTIVE]