The perfect setup for a creepypasta often involves the appearance of a mysterious file via text or email — one which the story’s protagonist often mistakes for a message or joke from a friend, who then denies sending it.
That’s why the 2017 short film INVOKE by writer-director Carlos Omar de León should hit all the right buttons (no pun intended) among fans of internet legends and lore… especially as it twists up the familiar trope with a dose of old-school “Bloody Mary” mind tricks.
Much like one of our recent creepypasta features, “Dr. Emmitt’s Research,” INVOKE takes a cue from a mysterious audio recording of a creepy individual who has since died or mysteriously vanished — in this case, a short “invocation” recording, allegedly found at the residence of notorious serial killer Eliza Braum, who liked to preserve the disembodied eyes of her victims and hide them in a compartment behind a bathroom mirror.
If you’ve seen CANDYMAN or THE EVIL DEAD, most horror protagonists just can’t help reciting occult invocations — be they from urban legends or ominous ancient tomes — so you can probably imagine what’s coming next. But it’s the setup that really makes the payoff worth watching here.
Offering stylistic nods to John Carpenter’s THE THING (including a dead-on homage to that film’s opening and closing titles) and the primary color palette of Dario Argento’s SUSPIRIA and INFERNO (especially those super-saturated blues), de León infuses INVOKE’s simple scenario with slick, eerie production value that makes it a must-see on as large a screen as possible.
INVOKE is still making the festival rounds, so be on the lookout for big-screen showings in your area… but if you can’t wait, you can watch the entire film here: