THE CALLING is a deeply derivative second-rate thriller directed by Jason Stone and based on the novel by Inger Ash Wolfe. Susan Sarandon is wasted as small-town detective Hazel, on the trail of a serial killer who takes pictures of his victims' mouths enunciating words. She's helped by recently transferred deputy Ben (Topher Grace), who in a moment of gonzo wackiness uses his mom's donated airmiles to go chasing leads on his own and getting into trouble. Naturally it all turns out to be linked to religious nutters, with Donald Sutherland playing a wise old Catholic priest who turns the cops onto the fact that the killer is harvesting victims to power a resurrection.
The problem with the film is not the plot or the acting which are just fine as police procedural's go. It's the fact that everything echoes other, better, more unique works. So when we see Sarandon is one of those hurry cop hats riding through the country to investigate a murder it immediately recalls FARGO. And the scene of Ben going to investigate a spooky house on his own resembles SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Moreover, while the atmosphere is suitably sombre and some of the emotional content genuinely moving, the film lacks pace. For a thriller, and one chock-full of outlandish material no less, it's not that thrilling.
THE CALLING has a running time of 108 minutes and is rated R. The film opened earlier this year in the US and Canada and is currently on release in the UK and Ireland.
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