Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointng but certainly watchable, 2 Jun 2009
This review is from: A Dead Calling [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
I'm having a hard time deciding whether I liked this film or not. Actually, I sort of liked it but feel like I shouldn't have. There's nothing all that original or groundbreaking to be found here, the plot has its share of holes, and the big twist is about as obvious and noticeable as a great big zit on a prom queen's nose. I must admit I was wrong about a second big twist that was never really there (although I wish it were, as it would have laid the groundwork for a truly wicked ending), so I guess I can say the story isn't 100% predictable. There's just no real energy at work here, though, and the end result is that A Dead Calling ends up being one of those films that you completely forget about in just a few days.

Following a very traumatic experience, hotshot news reporter Rachel Beckwith leaves the Big City to return home and try to pick up the pieces of her life. Moving back in with your parents is always weird, but it's especially the case when your parents are played by Sid Haig and Leslie Easterbrook. After a few months, she's ready to go back to work - but she decides to work at the local television station rather than go back to her old life. Her very understanding new boss asks her to work on a project about the architecture of some of the old local homes. Sounds pretty boring, right? Well, it would be if the first house on Rachel's list didn't house a family of ghosts somehow calling upon her to help them find peace. It seems a well-respected doctor massacred his wife and kids in the house a quarter century earlier. After witnessing horrible visions of murder most foul, I would have run out of the house screaming like a little girl, but Rachel keeps going back. Her new boss doesn't exactly believe her but he does encourage her, unlike everyone else in town. The local sheriff tells them to leave well enough alone, and no one else wants to talk about the dark past of the house, either, but that doesn't stop Rachel from trying to get to the bottom of the story.

I will say this isn't your typical haunted house story. The movie earns its horror designation with a few violent scenes, but nothing you see is the least bit scary. Rachel's interaction with one ghost in particular is the very opposite of frightening - but by that point the film had already dropped some of its horror trappings and morphed into a psychological thriller of sorts. For those reasons, I can't really recommend this film to those looking for a good ghost story. A Dead Calling essentially falls between the cracks of cinematic success - it's just not intense or frightening enough to satisfy horror fans, and the whole ghost story angle precludes it from attracting much attention outside of its designated genre. It also doesn't help that the ending is somewhat disappointing - and certainly anti-climactic.
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