Movie Review: The Grave Caller (2017)

April 26, 2018

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

A young writer named Sam Talbot (Nathaniel Grauwelman) and his wife Veronica (Vanessa Cuccia) head out to a cabin in the sticks where he hopes to learn a lil’ somethin’ about the family tree…or the dark roots from which it grew. Finding his uncle’s diary, Sam learns that his alcoholic ancestor (Jacob Crickenberger) went a bit screwy after he witnessed his wife murdered by a psycho in a bunny mask (I loved this visual by the by)…or did he…I don’t really know, and neither will you (which is a plus if you ask me). Anyway, how will the sins of the past effect the present?  I’m not telling…and I’m not even sure if I could!
On the plus side, there are some beautiful visuals on display here (in particular in the surreal dream sequences), and the acting (in particular from Vanessa Cuccia as Veronica, and Jacob Crickenberger as the beleaguered Samuel were real stand outs) is mostly solid…
The Grave Caller is an interesting one, but there are some problems that seemingly keeps it from becoming a total fright flick success story…or so it appears upon first glance. For starters; the narrative unfolds unevenly due to the constant switching between the present and the events of thirty years prior. Both stories are interesting enough, and both play out as slow burns pace wise…but the transition every few minutes halts the momentum of each story, and lessens their initial impact….but read on dear readers, read on…
In a twist scarcely imaginable, those negatives up yonder don’t mean squat because as we enter the third act everything becomes topsy-turvy and nightmare logic rules the day (which as anyone that has slapped their putrid peepers on this column well knows I absolutely love). The story lines dovetail, nothing is as we were lead to believe, and maybe…just maybe, something supernatural is afoot.
As you can surmise from my rather scattershot review, The Grave Caller was a hard one to review; it started as an uneven psychological thriller and ended up an extremely well executed surrealist nightmare…so what can I say…this one pulled the rug out from under me and I loved every minute of it!


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