A Dead Calling

Director: Michael Feifer

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Call me crazy & I'll punch you, but I just love Sid Haig. Despit cheapoid production-values & a lead actress whose acting skills fall far short of sterling, to me A Dead Calling (2006) was not totally worthless because it was the first time I ever saw Sid play a "normal" character, a regular Joe sort of dad. Sure, I liked him a whole hell of a lot better as Captain Spaulding in House of 1,000 Corpses (2003), & direct-to-video quicky-director Michael Feifer kinds of wastes an opportunity; but Sid's a bit of fun even as Joe Normal.

Marge (Alexandra Holden) a big-city news reporter is attacked in her home by a crazed stalker. Her boyfriend gets murdered. The film then comes to a dead halt & moves to another location to start over from scratch. The opening events have nothing to do with anything that happens later. We're obviously not dealing with storytellers with a lot on the ball here.

Though the writing sucks there's a slick veneer to the cinematotraphy which leads to a certain expectation for the story, too. It takes forever for the film to get re-started & sometimes the padding makes it obvious the filmmakers didn't know many interesting ways of getting a slim story to feature length.

In the wake of her attack Rachel returns to her home town & takes a job at a local television station. Her first story assignment is to research "old houses of Filmore" for a projected human-interest feature. This leads her to a huge mansion haunted by its evil past.

It was Dr. Sullivan's house, a psycho physician. Our heroine immediately hooks up with a small-time print-media reporter, Arnie (Mike Korich), who is doing some ghostbuster work. He gets murdered right in front of her -- by a ghost! But when the police arrive there is no evidence of the crime. Furthermore, the newspaper the victim claimed to write for had ceased publication many years earlier.

As everyone suspects Marge has gone a little post traumatic stress she doesn't get much help with events that unfold. The house keeps "calling" her hence the movie's title. The ghosts want something from her, perhaps for their story to be told, though it will turn out to be more personal than that.

The town has mostly shut out the memory of these events, but slowly Marge puts together the story of the horrific murders that occurred in that house thirty-five years earlier. And guess what! Coincindience of coincidences! Dr. Sullivan (Kyle Silverstein) just happens to have finished serving thirty-five years & has secretly returned to the house, rousing the fearful spirits further.

Before this meandering nonsense is finished we'll have multiple psychos, multiple ghosts, a rotten old corpse, several new corpses, & a slug of bad actors who can do nothing with the poorly written dialogue. The story gets busier & busier & busier as it goes along, never makes a whole lot of sense, never focuses, & climaxes badly. But hey, I saw Sid Haig!

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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