"A Dead Calling" DVD
It's always nice when
you can get a couple different subgenres running together with some
kind of accuracy, and "A Dead Calling" will show very
nicely how the ghost story and the murder mystery can work together.
As for this whodunit, Rachel, our intrepid reporter heroine, has
just left New York following the death of her fiance. Getting back
on the horse, she takes a job with her hometown television station
and begins doing a piece on the architecture of the great houses
in the area. One of these great houses has a history to it that
revolves very intimately around Rachel and, as we'll find out, will
take a lot of blood and corpses to make sense out of it.
First, they did a very, very solid job building the tension throughout
about the first half-hour of the movie. All the shots of our intrepid
young reporter roaming about the abandoned house are wracked with
tension, and by the time we get to our first killing, the tension
built explodes to maximum effect. It's a good, standard way to make
a scary part of a movie--build tension, release. The more tension
built, the bigger the release should be.
Also, there'll be plenty of those good old-fashioned who's-going-crazy
moments to go around. You know, those moments where they try to
establish that somebody's seeing things that really aren't there?
And a few possibly unintentional laughs, besides--check out the
intrepid reporter's dad (Sid Haig, back in yet another nicely done
non-clown role), as he teaches the basics of handgun safety.
"A Dead Calling" boils down to fairly simple terms. It's
a nice murder mystery, a fairly taut ghost story, and overall, pretty
solidly done. Although the last forty minutes or so watch like one
of Lifetime's endless array of execrable made for TV movies,
But there are some problems--for instance, the back of the box will
give away a major plot point. Thanks to a major typographical error,
we learn the truth about our intrepid reporter a whole lot sooner
than we want to. Not to mention a whole lot sooner than the movie
The ending gets really sinister really fast, which comes as a real
surprise given the tone of the whole rest of the movie. Think about
watching a Lifetime original movie that accidentally got the last
fifteen minutes of "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" dubbed
in by mistake. Think about that and you'll think just how incredibly
big a dichotomy that is. As if that weren't enough, a couple extra
nifty twists will find their way into the plot.
The special features include Spanish subtitles, English closed captions,
director's commentary, a photo gallery, audio options, and trailers
for "A Dead Calling", "An American Haunting",
"Blackwater Valley Exorcism", "Blood Stains",
"The Descent", "Zombie Nation", and "See
All in all, "A Dead Calling" is nicely done. There's a
whole lot of elements in this little stew, and bringing them all
together like this should prove very enjoyable.
Directed by Michael Feifer
Written by Michael Feifer
Starring Alexandra Holden, Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Leslie Easterbrook
Produced by Michael Feifer
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