NEWLY RELEASED DIRECT TO DVD – THE CALLING – Rated R

The calling movie poster

New Director Jason Stone brings to life a psychological crime thriller – highlighted by an All-star cast – with his new film – THE CALLING.

Hazel Micallef (Susan Sarandon) plays a seasoned cop in the quaint little town of Fort Dundas, which hasn’t seen too much excitement in years.  When she decides to check on a neighbor and good friend of her mother Emily (Ellen Burstyn), Micallef happens upon a gruesome crime scene.

Micallef needs help to solve this type of murder, so she reaches out to Detective Ray Green (Gil Bellows), who doesn’t seem to want to come to her aid, now or ever.  When a younger cop named Ben Wingate (Toper Grace) decides to transfer to their precinct, he might just be the help she needs to find who committed this haneus crime!

Well it looks like we might just have a serial killer on our hands, as more and more people seem to be ending up dead. Problem is, the profiles of the victims don’t fit– different sex, different income status….so how can it be the same person committing all these murders?

As Micallef and Wingate continue their investigation, they realize too, that he may be trying to send them a message – not a written message, that would be to easy – but a message by forming syllables of words with the victims mouths, and according to the forensic pathologist, the only way the killer can do this is by holding their mouth for a few hours until Riga mortise sets in –Ewwww!

Will Micallef and Wingate find this maniac before he kills again?  Will Micallef’s pain killer and alcohol addiction cloud her judgment on how they pursue this “Creeper”?  Will Wingate end up paying the ultimate price for Micallef’s obsession for finding this mad man? Or will peace and tranquility be restored as they finally figure out why, and who, is doing all the killing?

I give THE CALLING 3 out of 5 Stars:  As suspense thrillers go, THE CALLING does keep you guessing, which is always a good sign for this genre of film.   But Sarandon was totally miscast in her role as the drug addict/alcoholic police officer and there was absolutely no mother/daughter chemistry between her and Burstyn either, which was too bad.  Topher Grace seems to be exactly who he is in all his films, which is okay, but I keep hoping that he will eventually bring more depth to his performances. I enjoyed seeing Donald Sutherland too, but his performance as the Priest, didn’t WOW me either.  I’m guessing that between the mediocre acting and the “made for TV Movie” feel you get from this film, may be why THE CALLING didn’t receive a theatrical release, and why it went straight to DVD.  I do have to share however, that Christopher Heyerdahl, who plays Simon in this film, does play the perfect PSYCHO with a higher calling and purpose, and he should be commended for his performance, even if no one else is worthy.  Another positive that I felt when watching this film was that the graphic scenes didn’t get TOO GRAPHIC, which is always a positive for me, as I don’t enjoy all the blood, guts and gore that some of you do!.  Suffice to say that THE CALLING wasn’t the best psychological thriller I have ever seen, but it wasn’t, by far, the worst I have sat through either. 

Kathy Kaiser