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Summoned (2013) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

Lucas Evans is a convicted serial killer, who previously terrorized the San Francisco area under the name ‘Midnight’. Tried, convicted and sentenced to death by a jury of his peers, Evans was executed by court order. The media sensation surrounding the capture and conviction of Evans, generated enough national attention that the jurors themselves became cause celebrities. The foreman, eventually published an expose detailing the behind closed doors discussions regarding the verdict.

While prepping a second book on the subject, he is mysteriously murdered in a fashion that appears to be a clean-cut suicide in the eyes of the S.F.P.D. However, when a second juror dies there is no denying that someone, or something is exacting revenge on the members of the jury that convicted Lucas Evans. There is a supernatural element to Summoned, that recalls Fallen mixed with The Juror. As if genre writers John Grisham and Steven King collaborated on a trashy script, over a drunken.

This is the second film in as many months headlined by Cuba Gooding Jr., who appears to be the hardest working man on the B-movie circuit. Yet, that’s not quite the case anymore, appearances can be deceiving. Much like the recently released, Absolute Deception, this is another film that sidelines the Oscar winner in a supporting role, but prominently features his image on the box art while giving him top-billing. Seriously, he has two brief cameos in the opening act, and utters maybe ten lines. It is the kind of lazy tactic, that has all but derailed the once semi-watchable films of Steven Seagal. Hey, at least Gooding Jr. is still doing all his own ADR.

Ashley Scott is sporting the Charlize Theron/ Mia Farrow look, possibly in an homage to Rosemary’s Baby or the little seen The Astronaut’s Wife. She is the star of the movie, but she plays things in such a muted way that coupled with the bland filmmaking, produces a product that is watchable but not memorable. By the time the screenplay, credited to director Peter Sullivan, delivers the few surprises it has in store, we have long-lost interest.

Director: Peter Sullivan
Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Ashley Scott, James Hong

3 Responses to Summoned (2013) – Review

  • in the opening scene, I was convinced the director was doing a “movie within a movie” plot because the opening sequence was so predictably “hacky” and I thought maybe it was begining with a recreation from the DA’s point of view or some such. Then I realized that this was the actual opening scene for the move plot. I sat in stunned disbelief as one horror cliche after another was paraded across the screen. But what really did it for me was this:

    A serial killer is tried in California and sentenced to death. This happens within a five year period of time. The method of execution? The Electric Chair! There are two certainties with capital punishment in California.

    1, It takes closer to 25 years between sentencing and actual execution. (You’re more likely to die of old age.)

    2. California has NEVER used an electric chair. California was infamous for using the GAS CHAMBER for decades until they switched to lethal injection. (Great movie on this is called “Kill Me if you Can” with Alan Alda playing rapist, Caryl Chessman caught and tried in 1948. Even at that, it still took 12 years between sentencing and execution.)

    I didn’t bother to finish this film as I have watched more plausible plots unfold on Gilligan’s Island. I would suggest to Cuba Gooding Jr. that if he wants to improve his career, he should really read the scripts before he signs on the dotted line.

  • I still don’t know George is. Do you know?

  • I think the movie could be much better. Cuba Gooding really seems just act for money. Nothing else. But i liked Ashley Scott performance, i really loved her, I don’t think it was a “muted” acting as you say. It’s hard to develop a good character when the plot is not the best and she did it.
    You are focusing all in Cuba and forget the effort of the rest of the cast. unfair critic.

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