Wasley Taylor and Alex Wyse’s Summoning Sylvia is more of an important film than its potential to be good or bad. In this era when anti-LGBTQ campaigns threaten queer people, Summoning Sylvia is a film that deals with the viewpoints of society. I wouldn’t say that you’ll love this film very much, but as I said earlier, there comes a film that you need to see even if you don’t want to. Summoning Sylvia is one of those movies that will make you laugh and think. Spoilers Ahead!

Summoning Sylvia (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

Larry is about to get married to Jamie, and his gay friends want to throw a bachelor party. Larry, being a people-pleaser, can hardly refuse a request that comes from his friends. However, Jamie doesn’t know that Larry is being forcefully taken to this party. Reggie books a place that has a history, and they literally kidnap Larry to bring him over.

The house gives Larry and his other friends, Kevin and Nico, an eerie feeling. Kevin has recently gone through a breakup and finds some interest in Reggie. However, Reggie shows no signs of interest at the moment. Larry finds the place very intriguing, and after hearing that the place is haunted, his excitement knows no bounds. Nico is the queen of makeup and costumes. He brings a cloak and his book of spells so that they can perform a séance.

Why does Larry invite Harrison to his bachelor party?

Meanwhile, Larry calls Jamie to let him know about what his friends have planned for his bachelorette party. Jamie doesn’t sound very happy as he has already asked Larry to spend time with his brother Harrison. Harrison is in the US Army and doesn’t get along with people much. So, Jamie wants to make sure Larry and Harrison become friends before the marriage.

Since Larry cannot say NO to anyone, he decides to go to Harrison and then come back later to his bachelor party. Jamie, however, tells him that this is not necessary. They can always find another time to bond. But Larry cannot help himself in such a situation. People-pleasers always end up in such a condition where they cannot say NO to either party. However, they are loved by everyone, but love always comes with a price.

So, Larry asks Jamie to call and tell Harrison that he can join his bachelor party. Right after that, he regrets making such a decision. But, again, since he has already asked Jamie to invite Harrison to the party, he cannot go back on that. Jamie confirms it more than once, knowing that Harrison will not be comfortable around Larry’s gay friends. Moreover, Larry’s friends may not be comfortable around Harrison. Larry tells him not to worry about any of this and asks Harrison to come.

What’s the story of Sylvia?

While Larry is inviting Harrison to his bachelor party, Nico, Kevin, and Reggie have planned for the séance. They are about to summon Sylvia, who used to live in the house. As per history lessons, Sylvia is known for killing her son and burying his body in the garden. When the neighbors come to know about this, they kill Sylvia in the house, and since then, her ghost roams around the house.

They are almost ready to summon Sylvia and one by one, they start reading the spell from Nico’s book. The atmosphere turns very eerie as time goes by. In the meantime, Larry tries numerous times to tell his friends that Harrison is about to come. In the excitement of summoning Sylvia, they do not care about what Larry has to say. Soon, when everyone has read the spells, there is a knocking at the front door. They all scream in fear, thinking Sylvia is knocking at the door, trying to let them know of her presence. But Larry doesn’t scream as he knows that Harrison must be at the door. He knows about the disaster that lies ahead; he just doesn’t know the magnitude of it as of now.

How do Kevin, Nico, and Reggie respond to seeing Harrison?

Seeing Harrison arrive at the house out of the blue immensely surprises Kevin, Nico, and Reggie. Reggie is the party planner here, and at first glance, Nico and Kevin think that he has planned for a stripper for the party. Later, Larry introduces him to everyone as Harrison, his would-be brother-in-law. Things start to get out of hand from that point.

Summoning Sylvia (2023) Movie Ending Explained
Michael Urie in Summoning Sylvia (2023)

Seeing Nico in lipstick and women’s clothes, Harrison mocks him a little. It is not in a very offensive way, but it looks very disappointing from Nico’s perspective. Harrison and Larry’s friends feel the simmering tension between them as they fail to bond in their first interaction. Seance is finished for now, and they move on to drinking. Harrison doesn’t drink, though. He maintains his distance from the gang, while Larry is still trying his best to make him familiar with his friends.

What happens when Harrison drinks the wine?

Soon, they hear some banging on the wall, and they all fear that it must be the ghost of Sylvia. Harrison doesn’t know about anything, and he looks for the source of the noise. A power cut takes place, and things start to go haywire from that point. Harrison suddenly finds out that his glass is filled with wine. He already told everyone that he doesn’t drink alcohol, but seeing his glass in such a condition makes him angry. He screams at Nico, suggesting that it must be him who has poured wine into his glass. Nico also gets very agitated by this and confronts Harrison.

Larry asks everyone to calm down as they proceed to think that this has all been done by Sylvia’s ghost. Harrison angrily decides to drink up the whole glass of wine and goes to his room with the bottle. Larry knows he has lost control of everyone and calls Jamie. He tells him about Harrison drinking the whole glass of wine. Jamie sounds very tense hearing this as he says that Harrison has a history of drinking. He gets very violent whenever he drinks, which is why he refuses it in the first place. Larry goes in search of Harrison and finds out that he has drunk up all the wine, and even the knife in the kitchen is missing.

Summoning Sylvia (2023) Movie Ending Explained:

Does Sylvia’s Ghost Really Haunt the House?

Right in the middle of this crisis, Reggie and Kevin come close to each other; they even make out on the kitchen floor. Larry’s main worry revolves around Harrison and his violent nature when he becomes drunk. In the meantime, Larry’s friends have already found another picture from the past where they see that Sylvia’s son was in love with a boy. They think that Sylvia doesn’t want to see her son fall in love with a man. So, she kills both of them and then the people kill her. As they discuss the possibilities of what happened in the past, Harrison comes from behind and closes the door. They start screaming, and Larry comes to rescue them from the room. Nico tries to get away from the house when he finds a pizza delivery boy in the house.

He sees the resemblance of Sylvia’s son in him, and in the most bizarre way, it intrigues him to make out with the delivery boy. Larry looks for Harrison everywhere and later finds him in Nico’s room. At this time, Nico is making out with the delivery guy, but seeing Harrison with a knife, he runs away naked. Harrison has the knife in his hands and is about to strike Nico with it. However, Larry enters the room, and Harrison vomits and goes unconscious. Later, they all tie him up to a chair, and Nico suggests that Sylvia has possession of his body. So they decide to redo the séance and ask Sylvia’s ghost to return to the place from where she came.

Things, however, don’t go as planned; soon, they realize Sylvia’s ghost does not exist. Larry finds out that behind the picture they recently found is Sylvia’s written message. From that message, it is clear that Sylvia was trying to protect her son from the people. Society back then did not approve of a man who fell in love with another man. Sylvia protects her son by lying to the people that she has killed the boy her son was in love with. Sylvia dies at the hands of the people while trying to save her son and lover. History, however, remembers the lie and blames Sylvia for murdering her own son. It was the society that was responsible for her death. But all that matters is a mother’s determination to save one or two lives successfully.

So, Harrison is not possessed by Sylvia; he is just humiliated by the way he is treated right from his arrival in the house. He explains himself for behaving awkwardly throughout, as he says that he never had the pleasure of meeting many gay people. Since he is in the US Army, it is quite understandable that even if he wants to comply with Larry’s friends, he will have a hard time acknowledging them anyway. They all agree that they are not very welcoming toward Harrison either, as they embrace Harrison’s guilt with hospitality and friendship. They help Harrison confront his embarrassment of not being friendly enough with Larry and his friends. Soon, they befriend Harrison, and he even dresses up like a woman, thanks to Nico.

Jamie arrives at the house worrying about Harrison being violent while drunk. But when he enters the house, he sees Harrison playing women with Larry and his friends. He understands that Larry and Harrison have bonded well. He feels very relieved until the moment he sees Sylvia and her son in the back. Jamie screams in fear, looking at them, and they do the same. However, Larry finds nothing. Their ghost is only seen by Jamie at the end of the film. If it is of any significance, it perhaps expresses what road Jamie and Larry will have to travel. Society may not approve of them, but their love will help them stay intact. They have the best group of friends, and together, they can overcome all the difficulties to find the perfect life.

Read More: The Re-Education of Molly Singer (2023) Movie Review: Had potential but ultimately a waste of time and talent


Summoning Sylvia (2023) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Letterboxd
The Cast of Summoning Sylvia (2023) Movie: Travis Coles, Frankie Grande, Troy Iwata
Summoning Sylvia (2023) Movie Genre: Comedy/Horror, Runtime: 1h 14m
Where to watch Summoning Sylvia

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