review by Mike Haberfelner
Sam (Nathaniel Grauwelman), a successful writer of YA novels, promises his wife Veronica (Vanessa Cuccia) a romantic trip to a country cottage where he spent part of his childhood – but fails to also tell her he actually plans to do some research for his next book on the trip, and when she finds out she’s understandably miffed.
Sam is actually researching the story of his uncle Samuel (Jackob Crickenberger), who lost everything to alcoholism, expecially his wife Claire (Kate Bryant), who meant the world to him. But not he’s managed to stay sober for two years, and he has come so far that he’s offered the job of preacher at his community. And even Claire comes back and wants to give it another try – but then, just as he wants to take her on their first romantic date since the split, he has a relapse. Claire is devastated, and jumps out of his car on their way to the restaurant he has made reservations at. Claire is then picked up by Peter (Ray Zupp), a friend of hers – who rapes and ultimately kills her. Sam has visions of her death, but without a body he lacks closure, and looking for such takes him down a dark path of murder …
Back in the here and now, Veronica feels neglected by Sam – to then die in a freak accident while Sam’s blissfully sleeping in the next room. Sam is of course devastated, and in his devastation gives in to someone who promises to bring Veronica back to life. And they do even, just, things aren’t right anymore …
Basically, Grave Caller is quite a fascinating puzzle, one that has the two temporal levels of the film intertwined in a morbid way. And the film is also cleverly built up in a way that it doesn’t give away too much too soon but is full of surprises that get more macabre the longer the film goes, up to the very eerie ending. And an atmosphere-heavy directorial effort really sees to it that the creepiness never lets up. And a solid cast sees to it that the characters remain relatable in all their fallability, all of which makes up for a strong genre movie.
If that at all has gotten you interested, you can find this movie on TerrorTV.