We Summon the Darkness

Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
We Summon the Darkness Movie Poster Image
Over-the-top slasher will entertain teens; gore, cursing.
  • R
  • 2020
  • 83 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Encourages independent thought; in particular, looks at how news can be used to manipulate public opinion. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

While some characters are more sympathetic and/or heroic than others, they're not positive or inspirational.


Shootings, stabbings, punches, with bloody/deadly results. Some characters are kidnapped, tied up. A household item is used as a threatening weapon. Characters are struck with a blunt instrument, set on fire, and gassed, and suffer a significant fall.


Young women wear tight clothing, midriffs exposed; a young woman poses in a position intended as sexy. Young men shown in their underwear; one shirtless for significant portion of movie. Flirting. Young women talk about sex and, specifically, idea that they're not going to have sex with some guys they're partying with. Masturbation joke.


Frequent use of "s--t" and "f--k." Also "a--holes," "bitch," "circle jerk," "d--kwad," "hell." '80s characters use "retard" to mean "dumb." "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ!" used as exclamations.


Brands such as Pabst, Twinkies, Nintendo shown in historical context.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Young adults (it's unclear whether they're minors) "party" -- they throw back shots/drinks, smoke marijuana and cigarettes. One character pulls out bags of cocaine, soon after appears to be under the influence. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that We Summon the Darkness is a 1980s-set slasher movie that revolves around heavy metal Satan worshippers. That may sound alarming, but it only uses the idea of satanic cults as a plot device. Most of the time, it winks at horror film clichés, playing into some while disrupting others. For instance, there's lots of flirting and partying, with young women wearing tight jeans and sexy crop tops, but they also make it clear that they won't be having sex with the guys. There's tons of bloody, deadly violence, mostly using guns and knives. Characters are struck with a blunt instrument, set on fire, and gassed, and suffer a significant fall. Young -- but likely not underage -- characters curse nonstop ("f--k," "s--t," etc., as well as "retard"), smoke (both pot and cigarettes), and drink. An unlikable adult character is shown snorting cocaine. Despite being set in the '80s, the message about the importance of independent thought is very relevant for today.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byAaron C. April 23, 2020

Typical Clichéd Cult Horror.

This is a typical run-of-the-mill Cult Horror/Slasher/Thriller with Strong bloody violence, language & some sex references & revealing clothing.... Continue reading
Adult Written byA Concerned Mother April 15, 2020

Amazing Horror Movie

(Read in Southern Belle accent)
Totally appropriate for all da little children. Some people died brutally, but that's ok. I mean what horror movie doesn... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

In WE SUMMON THE DARKNESS, it's the 1980s, and a satanic cult is on a nationwide killing spree. But three friends -- Alexis (Alexandra Daddario), Val (Maddie Hasson), and Bev (Amy Forsyth) -- still decide to road-trip to a heavy metal concert. When they choose to keep the party going with three guys they just met, the night takes a devilish turn.

Is it any good?

With an appealing cast, solid production values, and a horror script that's both ridiculous and ridiculously fun, this is a slasher film that knows what it is and who will be watching. (In other words, plan the sleepover now.) Teens like scary movies: They like the togetherness of clutching each other, sharing the fear, making fun of what's happening on screen, and feeling smarter than the characters -- as well as the relief that comes with having "survived" the experience. And We Summon the Darkness hits all those beats. Case in point: The blood that gushes out of wounds isn't realistic as much as it is designed to get a vocal reaction from a group of viewers. Tonally, this movie isn't a comedic spoof like Scream Queens, but it's got a half-joking, half-serious attitude (casting Johnny Knoxville as a holy-roller pastor is all you need to know).

Parents may have a harder time with this film than their kids, mainly because it doesn't exactly nail the '80s setting. It does get a few things right: crimped hair (although Daddario's is much tamer than the tresses of a true '80s rocker chick), stoner vans, and the word "space cadet." But that's about it. The movie more accurately reflects what today's teens think the '80s were like. What's particularly clever is that We Summon the Darkness turns some slasher film expectations upside down and delivers a message that's right on for contemporary teens. In our moment of "fake news" skepticism, it drives home the idea that teens should think critically and independently -- and, just like kids in the '80s knew, don't trust "the man."

Talk to your kids about ...

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love scares

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate