Now Streaming: Summoners (2023) - Reviewed


Images Courtesy of Unquiet Films

Witchcraft has always been an essential part of the horror genre, be it folk horror masterworks such as The VVitch or modern-day interpretations like the 90’s sensation as The Craft.  Terence Krey's latest feature film, Summoners takes a unique approach to presenting a story about guilt, consent, and friendship via a lens of blood rituals and betrayal.  Featuring a dynamic central duo, deceptively beautiful imagery, and a stripped-down method of storytelling, this is excellent addition to the sorority of spell craft focused storytelling. 

Jess, a woman with a checkered past, returns home to visit her father, soon after falling back into a friendship with her former coven mate, Alana.  As the two begin to cast dark rituals in an effort to excise pain, terrible secrets and dangerous entities threaten to not only undo the women's friendship, but their entire existences as well.  Krey and Chrine Nyland's (who stars as Jess) script takes a refreshingly mundane approach to the concept of witchcraft.  Within the world of their design magic is not only real, it is somewhat public knowledge.  The essential dynamic focuses on Jess' return and the mysterious, perhaps unreliable pasts of both female leads.  Is free will real or it is part of some grand design of fate that can magically be manipulated?  Jess and Alana's (McLean Peterson) chemistry is organic and unforced, yet the way they dance around the extremely unpredictable notions that they are playing with is masterful, allowing the audience to form attachments while understanding the stakes.


The great, horror icon Larry Fessenden supports as Alana's father, and their relationship is the emotional core over which the women's relationship is built. This is a slow burn affair, where a house of emotional and memorial-like cards is built around the viewer only for it to come crashing down within the final 20 minutes. Daniel Fox's cinematography is the hearts blood, using every possible low budget trick to enhance the spooky environs of the woods while juxtaposing them with elegiac sequences in the day time world.  The result is a fun, but harrowing descent into a familiar, but alien world where monsters are real and friendship may in fact be the most powerful weapon against the darkness. 

Now streaming exclusively on the new horror platform Nightstream, Summoners is a fast, fun excursion into a near plausible world where magic is an everyday part of life. An elegant friendship weaves a solid horror yarn in which nothing is what it truly seems and the final yield is a creepy and fun Friday night experience.

--Kyle Jonathan