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The Calling (2000)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Richard Ceasar

Starring:
Laura Harris/Kristie
Richard Lintern/Marc
Alex Roe Brown/Dylan
Alice Krige/Elizabeth
PLOT-CRUNCH
After her marriage to uptight news anchor Marc (Lintern), cutie pie Kristie (Harris) gets pregnant and gives birth to Belzebubba’s son. Let's just say the little brat winds up being quite the handful and so does his Satanically-inclined entourage. And people wonder why I’m not sure about wanting kids one day…FUCK THAT NOISE!
THE LOWDOWN
For reasons that only the man upstairs knows for sure, I’ve been obsessed with seeing "The Calling" since I first heard about it. Maybe it was because I am a big fan of actress and fellow Canuck Laura Harris (remember her from "The Faculty"?), or maybe it was that I dig the whole “child = anti-Christ” formula, but I guess only the Holy Spirit knows for sure. Having said that, I had to venture deep into hell’s most decrepit gutter to find this movie (yes, a Blockbuster Video of all places) and here’s the dealio.

Although I was looking forward to this straight-to-video candy, my expectations of it actually being any good were lower than a crouched down midget in a hidden basement. Surprisingly, I got more sweet marmalade out of this one than expected. Sure, the story and the chain of events were pedestrian at best, and the whole thing smelled like a routine merging of "The Omen" and "Rosemary’s Baby", but in a way, that’s what made it a gnarly watch. At least it went on to emulate two films that I find to be the "money" as opposed to a piece of genre shite like "Children of the Living Dead" (I had to do it). GOOD MOVE!

To make things go down smoother, the pace of the film was pleasurably effortless to sit through with the events and the twists consistently groovy to witness, despite their “déjà vu” nature. Visually, the flick also capitalized on its beautiful landscapes with flair (England baby) and gave the film an occasional eerie mood. The directing behind it all was adequate and although a tad too TV-movie like at times, it still managed to inject biting drops of tension in the right spots (loved the swing scene). The flick also sported a couple of fly kills (poor guinea pig) and even went as far as tossing some twisted concepts our way when it came to its suggested violence towards children and its perverted views on the Immaculate Conception. Did the screenwriter get struck by lightning after writing some of this? I’m sure he did because I almost got fried for enjoying it. Enquiring minds want to know!

Having said that, the more effective ingredients in this stew were found in two fine chunks of casting. Numero uno was the kid playing Anti-Christ Dylan (Brown) who was one genuinely scary little bugger. I wouldn’t piss in this kid’s sandbox, that’s fer sure! Numero dos, but not least, was Miss Laura Harris in the lead doing her best impression of Charlize Theron in "Astronaut's Wife" doing her best impression of Mia Farrow in "Rosemary’s Baby", doing her best impression of my wife in real life. Not only was she like "my type" on a physical level (yes, I like blonde haired, blue eyed twig-like girls), but she also put out a gripping performance emanating both endearing vulnerability and wooing strength. I lost myself in her big blue eyes and in her heart-shaped bootie more than once; LAURA HARRIS ROCKS!

On the sour side of the cupcake, apart from the strong whiffs of unoriginality floating about, this sucka shamefully underused awesome actress Alice Kridge and overused some slimy scene-chewing dude (McGee) to sometimes laughable results (keep your shirt on, Taco). The flick also pussied out near the end and held back in what could’ve been its more powerful sequence (that orgy scene should’ve been way more daring). Lastly, there was the anti-climatic ending. I dug the idea behind it, but didn’t care for its execution. If felt more like an opening for a sequel that will never happen than a proper finale. If they would’ve at least showed a pinch of the aftermath that the cap-off entailed, I might’ve been content with it, but as is, it left me feeling unsatisfied.

On the whole though, I felt swell after answering this Calling. It provided me with a buck and half's worth of decent horror entertainment while satisfying my Laura Harris craving till the next time we meet under blood-stained sheets (what does that mean?). Will you answer to this one’s becking?
GORE
Nothing too graphic, but we still get a guinea pig “brochette”, after-the-fact bloody bodies, a crucifixion and splattered blood.
ACTING
Laura Harris (Kristie) carried the film like a champ and she’s also hands down gorgeous. I’M SOLD! Richard Lintern (Marc) did good as the creepy Brit. Francis McGee (Carmac) went heavy on the cheese at times and he kind of grated me. Alex Roe Brown (Dylan) was MUCHO frightening and he gave me the heeby-jeebies. Alice Kridge (Elizabeth) cashed a check with this nothing part.
T & A
We get some jugglies during a bland orgy scene and some old dudes shitless. Nothing to paint the walls over from my end! Francis McGee (Carmac) also opens his shirt…you ladies/gay dudes can be the judge of whether it was worth it or not. I got my money on “NOT”! Then again, I’m a poor gambler.
DIRECTING
On one end, the movie had this TV-movie like vibe that played against it in terms of bowling us over via its visuals, but on the other end, we had slick hints of style (I loved the montage that communicated Dylan’s growth), some decent eerie lighting and a potent use of the locations at hand (can’t go wrong with cloudy skies and awe-inducing mountains).
SOUNDTRACK
“Babylon 5” composer Christopher Franke delivered a decent, spooky score and was that Remy Zero I heard? Yessir!
BOTTOM LINE
“Dr. Phil, my child is Satan’s offspring and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong!” If you’re seeking a by-the-numbers “evil brat from hell” genre entry, than you can do much worse than inserting "The Calling" in your DVD player. It’s far from original, doesn’t always push far enough and goes limp with its ending, but it's still a decent trip with a kool narrative, a few surprises and a hot/talented lead chickadee. And Laura, I’m picking you up on Friday at 5 PM for "that thing", you know what I’m talking about…or do you? THAT THING, YO! Just call me, and we’ll plan it out….just don’t forget the “Jell-O”…
BULL'S EYE
Laura Harris was born on November 1976 in Vancouver BC. She produced a film called “Come Together” in which she also starred.

Did you know that Blockbuster Video doesn’t even have a Horror Section for its old movies anymore? WTF is that all about? IT REALLY IS HELL!
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