The Calling (2014)

(On Cable TV, April 2015)  One wouldn’t expect a low-budget Canadian films starring a small-town police chief investigating a gruesome murder to evolve into a national crime mystery weighting important issues of faith and redemption.  But thanks to some clever storytelling (and a solid source novel), that’s exactly what The Calling ends up doing out of not much more than a very low budget.  Susan Sarandon anchors what is otherwise a recognizably Canadian cast (Donald Sutherland bonus!) as a burnt-out police chief grappling with a baffling murder.  As clues accumulate, it becomes obvious that she’s after something more than a random killer, and even more than a simple serial killer.  The film cleverly pretends to take place in three provinces and involve a national scope despite shooting in small-city Ontario.  Drab, slow and Canadian winter-cold, The Calling nonetheless earns a bit of attention throughout, and manages to do a little bit more than expected with the standard clichés of serial killer low-budget cinema.  The ending isn’t as strong as it should have been, but by the standards of low-budget Canadian films (and you know it’s going to play endlessly on Canadian TV due to the CanCon requirements…), it’s actually better than average.

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