MOVIE: The Calling (2014)

callingI had a bunch of brainless stuff to get done this weekend, including addressing about 150 letters asking for donations to a charity auction I’m working on and knitting a baby sweater for same, so, to keep myself entertained, I rented a ton of movies and made myself spend nearly two full days on the couch gettin’ shit done.

This one, out in theaters today, apparently, but also available on demand from various streaming platforms, was a fairly decent choice for the job.  I needed movies that would be engaging, but not require all that much in terms of steady concentration.  A murder mystery seemed like the perfect choice.

Set in Canada, it’s about a Detective Inspector, Hazel Micallef (Sarandon), who is nearing the end of her career both because of her age and her steadily worsening drinking problem. One morning, she’s sent to do a wellness check on an elderly neighbor, and finds the woman dead in her kitchen, her mouth frozen in a horrific grimace.

When the coroner tells her the woman’s face was not only posed, but that it would’ve taken hours for the killer to get it to freeze the way it was, Hazel starts to suspect this was more than a routine murder.  Sure enough, a little digging turns up several other bodies, their faces staged with similar expressions.

Those expressions end up being the key to figuring out who the killer is and why he’s doing what he’s doing.  And while I admit that whole element was a bit on the far-fetched side, I definitely gotta give it props for being unique, which is kind of the case with this movie in general.  A lot of what happens in the story is pretty unbelievable, starting with a mother letting a complete stranger, who is incredibly creepy to boot, frankly, visit her sick daughter and give her a cup of tea made out of a bunch of weeds he keeps in his pocket. Yeah, right. At the same time, while the killer’s motive was hardly original, the path to its reveal had its moments.

Since this movie wasn’t out yet last weekend, renting it on demand ran me somewhere along the lines of $10.  I’d say it was probably worth about that much and no more, and it’s definitely not the kind of film you need to see on the big screen unless you feel strongly about patronizing movie theaters (which I do myself, but not strongly enough to want to pay two bucks more to see things like this in them — well, $12 bucks more, really, because: popcorn).  Waiting until it drops to more like $4 would be a reasonable move.

But it was nice to see Sarandon again, and man, does Ellen Burstyn ever look fantastic. (Why can’t I be Ellen Burstyn? Where have I gone wrong?)  Plus: Topher Grace, whom I hadn’t seen for a while, and who does a decent job here as the newbie detective on the squad.

Recommended, though nothing to get too excited about.  If you have a big envelope-stuffing project to work on, you could do worse!

[Prequeue at Netflix | Amazon Rent/Buy]

Genre: Mystery, Drama
Cast: Susan Sarandon, Gil Bellows, Ellen Burstyn,Topher Grace, Donald Sutherland, Christopher Heyerdahl


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One Response to “MOVIE: The Calling (2014)”

  1. RogerBW Says:

    I’ve heard good things about this one, and I’m looking forward to it hitting a workable price. (With so much old stuff out there for tiny amouts of money, I see no rush to watch something new.)

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