Distributed by: Lionsgate
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
When I learned that Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ashley Scott would be starring in a movie together, I couldn't wait to see it. I've always thought Cuba Gooding, Jr. to be a highly under-rated actor and I've admired Ashley Scott's work since Birds of Prey and Jericho. I found the promos of Summoned rather intriguing, so I tuned in to the network premiere of the film on LMN on July 24, 2013.
In Summoned, five years have passed since Evan Lucas (Dylan Vox) was executed for the crime of capital murder. Dubbed the Midnight Murderer, Lucas was believed to have been a serial killer, preying on young woman and murdering them with a three-inch fishing knife. Artist Laura Price (Ashley Scott) served on that jury and not a day goes by when she doesn't think about the trial. She still keeps in touch with some of the jurors.
So, when some of those jurors start turning up dead, naturally Laura becomes concerned. When she learns that each of the jurors have felt as if they were being watched and received text messages featuring the last words Lucas said before he was put to death, she becomes seriously freaked out. Especially since she has been experiencing the same thing. In fact, some pretty weird things have been happening to Laura in the last couple of days...unexplainable things like doors opening on their own and drapes that she just finished shutting a minute ago opening.
But, as Detectives Lyons and Callendar (Bailey Chase and Cuba Gooding, Jr.) keep telling Laura, there is nothing suspicious about the deaths of these jurors. One died in a car accident, another in a suicide attempt and another from a heart attack. That being said, Detective Lyons does find the whole thing strange, and when he and Laura realize that the other jurors died in order and that she is the next in line, it becomes a race against time to learn how and why the other jurors really died and prevent the same thing from happening to her.
While I thought Ashley Scott did a good job in her role, there were a lot of things wrong with Summoned. First of all, why give Cuba Gooding, Jr. top billing if he was in the movie a grand total of 15 minutes? Next, there were a lot of holes in this storyline. The fact that much of this film must have been cut prior to the network premiere was rather obvious. How else could you explain the spontaneous romance between two characters who previously never showed any romantic interest in each other and had no romantic chemistry, the message from the girlfriend at the end who never mentions that she has been in contact with her dead boyfriend (don't ya think that might have been helpful to know some time long before the climax of the film?), what happened to Laura's husband and how could the one juror be a victim of the killer if he died of a heart attack (it's entirely possible, but where's the explanation)?
There were some rather interesting things going on in this film. The way they were snuck in there reminded me of The Sixth Sense. Just like in The Sixth Sense, the color red is very prominent in this film, although it appears in moments where there aren't any ghosts present, it does seem to find its way into every scene of revelation or discovery. Laura's home decor has a lot of red in it and she uses red paint quite a bit in her artwork. Also, the number five is a BIG deal in this film. I have yet to discover the idea behind that, but the movie takes place five years after the trial, Laura is juror number five and the only juror who makes an attempt to stop the killings, I remember one of the incidents in the movie taking place as the clock struck 5:00 and, I'm not certain, but I think the amount of murders credited to the Midnight Murderer was five (would have to watch the movie again to be sure about that one).
Overall, I can't blame Ashley Scott for agreeing to be in this film. After all, the storyline was intriguing and a whole lot could have...and should have...been done with it. It's not her fault that a lot of the movie ended up on the cutting room floor...at least, I hope that's what happened, because a movie with this many mistakes and holes must have been edited poorly. Shame on the editor. However, if this isn't a problem of editing, then shame on the creators of the film for not realizing that so much more footage needed to be shot for this film to have any cohesion.
Summoned could have been so much more - the fact that I was disliking the film, yet couldn't stop watching it and hoping for more says it all. The promos of Summoned gave me a preview of a film with so much promise, but the actual film only left me disappointed.