After years of being distant from each other, Abby and Rebecca reunite at their isolated family cabin to release the ashes of their recently deceased mother into the nearby lake. They stumble upon what seems to be a crash site of sorts and come into possession of a small sphere object. The sphere has become the object of Abby’s husband’s obsession and Abby starts to have nightmares of weird beings experimenting on her body. When Calvin becomes withdrawn and Abby learns she’s pregnant, Rebecca reveals her beyond the stars tale of why she’s kept her distance away from her sister and from their family cabin. A tale of abduction and unwanted incubation.
“The Invoking” director Jeremy Berg has carefully constructed a film where the characters actually feel human. What I mean by this is that the characters don’t feel overly transcribed and built up to a point where their on screen personas are unbelievable and stereotyped. Abby (Angela DiMarco) and her husband Calvin (David S. Hogan) just work and come home while Abby’s sister Rebecca (Kate Alden) just lounges around the house as a guest and this feels more like normal life and gives a big sense of reality to this little sci-fi film. When the other world beings do make an appearance, whether in Abby’s nightmares or in the finale act, their presence thrilling disrupts the normality.
The alien creature by the Killer Makeup FX company does a not too shabby job on the suit for actor Gabriel Congdon as The Visitor. Congdon’s simplistic take on the alien doesn’t draw too much attention to, at times, the bit of costume cheesiness that oozes out especially when the alien hand bangs against the window of Abby’s house. However, I’m still very pleased with the outcome and the Visitor’s amount of screen time strives toward their anonymity that works well within the patiently paced story.
The story itself is nothing audiences haven’t experienced before. “The Device’ strikes familiarities with other more well-known films such as “Fire in the Sky,” “Astronaut’s Wife,” and even a little with the medieval fantasy film “The Lord of the Rings.” I keep imagining David S. Hogan’s, who delivered a strong performance and showed off some good acting chops through most of the film, character Calvin caressing the black sphere and gargling, “my precious;” he certainly has the face to make a great Golum. Also, where other critics might believe “The Device’s” pace is too slow, some might find the steady pace to be a nice build up, deconstructing character personas and removing their humanity and morphing them into meager savages. However, what really kills the film’s fairly solid structure is the ambiguous and confusing ending that would make the previous first two acts nullified.
I do appreciate the special appearance by Russell Hodgkinson who plays Doc on “Z-Nation” and I do appreciate, on a more serious note, the effort that went into “The Device.” With that last remark, I can’t help but to think that some scenes could have been reshot to omit movie making mistake thus placing “The Device” on a higher pedestal. For example, when Abby and Calvin are at the isolated cabin and their having a heart-to-heart talk outside on the deck, you can obviously see a car with it’s lights on driving in the background and this absolutely ruins the authenticity of the scene.
“The Device” won’t knock your socks off for it’s a basic sci-fi alien feature where subtlety is key, but this epitomizes indie filmmaking and we can’t take for granted that all films are not made equal. “The Device” is about obsession, it’s about facades, it’s about lack of communication; basically, the device itself is a metaphor for all that could be what’s wrong within a relationship whether it’s between two lovers or two families and I think that’s where “The Device” gets it correct without making a huge splash with the sci-fi material.