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“Invoking Yell” is the successful marriage of “Blair Witch” and “Lords of Chaos” that births a refreshing spin on the Cam-Horror trope. 

Invoking Yell

Invoking Yell is a Found Footage Horror/ Analog Psychodrama from Chilean director Patricio Valladares (Embryo, Nightworld).

Set in Chillan, Chile, in 1997, the film centers on Andrea (played by María Jesús Marcone – Knock Knock), her best friend Tania (played by Macarena Carrere – The Pack, Trauma), and Ruth (played by director Andrea Ozuljevich – Error 113. The three young women venture into the woods to record a demo tape for their Black Metal band, the titular Invoking Yell. 

Andrea’s primary goal for the session is to record EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) at the infamous crash site of a doomed school bus where the spirits of ten children are rumored to haunt. 

Andrea is extremely single-minded in her quest to record a single for their all-female Depressive Suicidal Black Metal project and believes that sampling the disembodied voices of dead schoolchildren will help their record stand out amongst the very few Black Metal artists in Chile. 

Despite having lots of ideas, the band only has a one-track demo, and they appear predominantly focused on the cool, edgy aesthetics of being in a Black Metal band as opposed to putting in the hard work to write, record, and produce music. 

Cue MANY cringe segments with the women denouncing ‘’Posers’’ as they, well… pose. 

I couldn’t help but laugh when Andrea accused other bands of being posers before throwing the ‘Devil Horns’ with her hand with her thumb sticking out. (For those not in the know, the horns are thrown with the thumb tucked over your middle finger; sticking your thumb out is, in fact, the universal hand gesture for ‘love’.)

The film opens with a quote from Sociologist Maximiliano Sanchez stating that although Black Metal began life as a Cult underground music movement, its true intention was to bring acts of violence, vandalism, sacrilegious themes, and even murder to an international audience. 

Valladares takes this notion of Black Metal being a force for evil and weaves an interesting cautionary tale around it whilst injecting some supernatural elements.

The slow-burn delivery of the film may be a bit frustrating at first due to the failure to include any exciting plot beats as we spend the first fifty minutes meandering along with these three girls as they bicker, pose, and spend far too much time simply screwing around. 

However, the slow pacing gives the viewer an insight into the individual mindsets of the girls. We witness Andrea actively trying to push out newcomer Ruth as she vies for the full attention of Tania. 

Tania is carefree and playful and is more readily accepting of Ruth, who does everything she can to win over Andrea. This includes arranging accommodation as well as providing the recording equipment and camera, which she uses to film the girl’s woodland escapades. 

From Ruth’s perspective as the cameraman, we are given glimpses into how their relationship develops over their shared night in the woods. 

Andrea’s animosity towards Ruth, an outsider, mirrors the gatekeeping, which is often shown towards outsiders in the Black Metal community from Gatekeeper types. 

INVOKING YELL fits the Found Footage mold to a tee. We get grainy images filmed on Super 8 complete with glitches, heightening the illusion that you are witnessing a true recovered tape.

The supernatural elements ultimately become superfluous, given the trajectory which the plot takes in the third act. Valladares has introduced the notion of dark, supernatural forces yet does extremely little with them save for the ‘twist’ ending, which itself feels like an afterthought rather than a fully conceived plot point. 

It is frustrating because Invoking Yell has a ton of potential. However, it tries to stitch together too many conflicting ideas, which results in a chaotic, haphazard sort of vibe when it should feel more linear in vision. 

The film’s primary strengths lie within its human elements.

Valladres, who wrote the script along with Barry Keating, demonstrates a strong ability to engross the viewer not by showcasing supernatural aspects but rather by exposing the darker sides of human nature, solidifying him as a filmmaker apt in showcasing human horrors. 

The acting feels naturalistic. All three women convincingly portray a group in their 20s as they curse, laugh, and joke whilst showing reluctance to be on camera during their shy moments. There is a maturity and restraint shown to these characters where other male filmmakers may fall into the trap of including cliched, gender-specific dialogue commonly found in a Western Horror movie. 

Rather we are privy to the behavior of these girls as their grip on reality loosens, and this is where the film’s strength lies. 

It may be easy to compare Invoking Yell to Jonas Akerlund’s highly divisive Lords Of Chaos. But Valladares seeks to focus on the motivations behind heinous acts rather than to showcase gratuity within the acts themselves. 

We witness Andrea become obsessed with recording Psychophonies (the sounds of spirits) as Ruth films her from a voyeuristic place. Like Ruth, we feel as though we are witnessing something to which we have little connection as Andrea and Tania’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic. 

It is difficult to ascertain whether Andrea and Tania’s Satanic antics are a catalyst for the supernatural forces which befall the group or whether the introduction of drugs and alcohol plays a larger role in the girls’ dwindling mental stability. 

Despite some flaws, Invoking Yell presents a refreshing spin on the Found Footage genre. 

Black Metal aesthetics like Corpse Paint, ritualistic acts, and dead winter trees are coupled with the novelty of Psychophony sounds, which result in a striking-looking and sounding film despite the times when the Black Metal elements feel caricatured and forced. 

Gore and gratuity are swapped in lieu of character-driven performances, and there are no embellished set pieces, only the barren isolation of nature. 

Like the Black Metal culture itself, Invoking Yell adopts a DIY approach.

The raw performances contrast the barren environment resulting in an agoraphobic feeling throughout. 

The most entertaining and intriguing aspects of the film materialize in the third act; therefore, it is worth your patience.

It’s not perfect, but Invoking Yell remains an impressive entry into the Analog Horror movie genre, even if the ending feels more like a whimper than a yell. 

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 3
Currently making a splash on the festival circuit, having mostly recently screened at the Chattanooga Film Festival, Invoking Yell does not have an official release date yet. But we encourage you to keep an eye out for it. 

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