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  • A Dead Calling

    Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on January 18th, 2007

    (out of 5)

    Alexandra Holden is a big-time TV reporter who is traumatized when an intruder breaks into her home and kills her fiancé. (Does this set-up remind anyone of The Howling?) She retreats to her old home-town, moves back with her parents (Sid Haig and Leslie Easterbrook!) and starts work at a local TV station. Her first assignment takes her to a house where murders took place years ago, and she promptly has visions of ghosts and the murders, and she feels she is being called on to provide justice for the ghosts. Their still-living killer has other ideas, however.

    The counter-casting of Haig and Easterbrook (most recently together in The Devil’s Rejects) as overly protective parents is enjoyable perverse, but the movie itself has the rather plodding, pedestrian feel of a late-70’s made-for-TV flick. The dialogue is frequently awkward and excessively expository, and the characters aren’t always consistent. There are a couple of decently assembled jolts, but there isn’t really much here to lift things out of the run-of-the-mill.


    The 5.1 is pretty appalling. It’s clear enough, but the surround FX are misplaced (to greatly distracting effect), and the score is almost inaudible. Slap headphones on and switch to 2.0, and things are better – the bells and whistles may not be there, but at least the music doesn’t sound like you’re overhearing your neighbour’s radio. The difference in volume between the menu (LOUD) and the feature (quiet) is annoying, too, as you’ll be forced to adjust the sound markedly if you go back and forth between the two.


    The picture is unobjectionable, for the most part, but it is also far from thrilling (the film not only feels like an older made-for-network-TV effort, it looks like one, too). The dark scenes are murky and grainy, and the colours are rather drab and unexciting. The image isn’t soft, exactly, but it won’t impress anyone either.

    Special Features

    Writer/director Michael Feifer’s commentary concentrates on the trials and tribulations of independent filmmaking. The only other extras are a still gallery and trailers for this and a bunch of other horror releases from Lionsgate.

    Closing Thoughts

    It’s not bad. It’s not great. It’s just there.

    Special Features List

    • Director’s Commentary
    • Trailers
    • Still Gallery
    Posted In: 1.78:1 Widescreen, Disc Reviews, Dolby Digital 2.0 (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), DVD, Horror, Lionsgate / Maple Pictures

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