It feels safe to say everyone grew up alongside legends. 

Legends that became the basis for night terrors, fear of the dark, and stories you could pass to others in long nights of horror stories told while holding flashlights. Of course, they grew stronger with time. Sometimes they’re still part of an intimate catalog of shameful things that scare you.

Imagine if you had the capacity to tell a story around that certain entity or event. If you had an open menu for composing a story out of folklore and legends. I think everyone would do a passionate job. Also a respectful one.

In The Tokoloshe: The Calling there’s an intention to build a story. Maybe release notes help, but the regular viewer isn’t aware of what’s happening behind a mediocre movie. They just see the result. And in the case of The Tokoloshe: The Calling, the result is a messy script that can’t hold the story together. If you see the film, please tell me the relation between the opening note and the movie itself.

The story is centered around a writer who moves to an abandoned hotel in order to finish his latest job. His wife and adopted daughter accompany him, and instantly they begin sensing something is not right with the place. More so, the little girl who feels she has a link with this place through her unknown bloodline.

It’s a film told in flashback as the girl has grown up and she’s in therapy with someone who encourages her to explore that tragic past. This side of the story is poorly depicted as the performers are terrible and their characters have no posture in the creepy story about demons and ghosts in the hotel. The link between both “worlds” is there, but it’s simply not engaging. Or understandable.

You would have to dig more if you wanted to know more about what’s actually going on in The Tokoloshe: The Calling. The film’s a collection of scenes that are aiming for a jump scare and end up being plain boring and ineffective. The only thing that you will obtain with the film is an unnerving feeling with a very creepy doll that works greatly in the few scenes it’s in. Wow.

Indie horror films aren’t bad by default. There are some that are very good without being flamboyant and eccentric. You don’t have to have great special effects to tell a creepy story. Sound helps but a good sound design does not come from budget. You just need to make sense of your story and follow the guidelines of “breadcrumbs”, buildups, misdirections, etc.

Perhaps, I’m committing a sin by saying this but The Tokoloshe: The Calling could have been a formula-based horror film and the results would have been better. Sometimes it’s better to be simple and stay in a comfort zone. Experiments are sometimes good but risky. And risky doesn’t have anything to do with the terrible adaptation that is The Tokoloshe: The Calling, a film that makes us afraid of telling the stories we grew up in



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