We Summon the Darkness
Over-the-top slasher will entertain teens; gore, cursing.
We Summon the Darkness
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
Typical Clichéd Cult Horror.
Report this review
Amazing Horror Movie
Report this review
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 ...
Families can talk about the messages/takeaway of We Summon the Darkness. Do you think there are powerful people who use news to manipulate society to their benefit? If so, what are some examples?
Talk about how the movie depicts drinking, drug use, and smoking. Do you think it's historically accurate? Do you think it's glamorized for today's audiences?
How does this compare to other horror films you've seen? How does the violence in slasher movies compare to other kinds of media violence?
- On DVD or streaming: April 10, 2020
- Cast: Alexandra Daddario, Keean Johnson, Johnny Knoxville
- Director: Marc Meyers
- Studio: Saban Films
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 83 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: bloody violence, pervasive language, some drug use and sexual references
- Last updated: February 2, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
The Cabin in the Woods
Clever but very bloody deconstruction of horror movies.
Teen slasher parody has strong violence and language.
Unsettling, high-class horror movie is extremely violent.
Startlingly violent, intense Kevin Smith shocker.
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