A Dead Calling
Lionsgate Home Entertainment // R // $26.98 // December 12, 2006
Review by Scott Weinberg | posted January 13, 2007
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The Movie

It's important for a movie to make at least as much sense as its title, and Mike Feifer's A Dead Calling certainly accomplishes that task.

Noteworthy to horror fans in that it features some (rather unimpressive) work from Sid Haig, Bill Moseley and Leslie Easterbrook (reunited from The Devil's Rejects, don't forget) and for very little else, A Dead Calling is a schizophrenic little cheapie that has a possesses a few surprisingly good components -- but not nearly enough to keep the thing afloat.

Alexandra Holden plays Elizabeth, a TV news-woman who's only six months removed from the horrific murder of her boyfriend and just now ready to get her life back on track. Her mom and dad (Easterbrook and Haig) are sweet and supportive, but it turns out they also have a few skeletons hidden in the closet.

Anyway, the "dead boyfriend" stuff doesn't really have a whole lot to do with the movie, truth be told. Elizabeth dips her toe back into the journalism pool after a kind-hearted editor throws her an assignment -- and wouldn't you know it? Liz discovers a house full of ghosts. (Well, not "full," but there's a few.) And then just when the supernatural material runs out of steam, Feifer decides he wants to make a slasher flick, and then it's a whole bunch of stab, chase, etc.

To call A Dead Calling schizophrenic would be a seriously deficient diagnosis. This thing is ultra-double-schizo, and the experience isn't helped by Mr. Feifer's over-reliance on stock contrivances and predictable plot points. Plus most of the actors sound like they were given their first look at the screenplay two hours earlier, and the directorial style can be charitably described as "basic point and shoot." Much could be forgiven if A Dead Calling offered a new idea or a unique spin, but the filmmakers were content to meld a half-baked ghost story with a limp little slasher flick, and the result tastes as undercooked as a raw hot dog.

The DVD

Audio/Video: Anamorphic widescreen transfer, certainly solid enough for a low-end production like this one. Audio is delivered in 5.1 Surround or 2.0 Stereo, with optional subtitles in English and Spanish.

Extras: Writer / director / producer / sole commentator Michael Feifer contributes a feature-length commentary track, and while it's full of semi-interesting tidbits and some practical advice for indie filmmakers, I simply can't imagine who'd be compelled to sit through the whole thing.

Rounding out the disc is a photo gallery and a bunch of trailers.

Final Thoughts

A Dead Calling is more like A Movie Stinking, or (more accurately) A Viewer Sleeping.



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