The Calling

Movie review by
Amanda Nojadera, Common Sense Media
The Calling Movie Poster Image
Faith-themed crime thriller has graphic violence, language.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 108 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Amid its story about brutal murders, The Calling shows the importance of reaching out to others, either through an online community or a friend or family member, to discuss what may be causing you pain. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Hazel's mother, Emily, often tries to cheer up her moody and cynical daughter. Although Hazel drinks heavily and sometimes makes questionable decisions that affect her fellow officers, her persistence and resilience help her solve the case. 


Hazel and her team are investigating a series of murders that include graphic visuals like a woman whose throat has been slit and a man whose stomach has been removed. One scene shows dogs eating the removed stomach. The victims' mouths are manipulated after death, and later Hazel reads detailed reports from the coroner's office. Ben discovers a rotting corpse in a trailer in the middle of the woods. A woman has scalding-hot water poured on her back. A man commits suicide by shooting himself in the head. 


Some uses of "s--t," "hell," and "f--k."


References to Jim Beam and Oldsmobile.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Hazel is constantly drinking alcohol at home, in bars, and at work. She also abuses her prescription pills and is seen stealing medication from crime scenes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Calling is a crime thriller with several religious references that includes graphic images of dead bodies in various states -- such as an elderly woman with a slit throat and a man whose stomach has been removed (viewers later see dogs eating the stomach). The serial killer also positions the mouths of his victims after they've died. There are mentions of suicide, most of which are faith-based, throughout the movie, and one character shoots himself in the head. The main character drinks heavily and abuses prescription pills to numb her pain. Strong language is also used, including words like "s--t," "f--k," and "hell."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bywonder dove May 26, 2015

Excellent mystery thriller!

I found this film to be quite enjoyable! I loved the fact that it was mysterious with a dark errie vibe throughout. Susan Sarandon is wonderful as always and th... Continue reading
Adult Written byjohnswanson October 24, 2014

Great mystery, but graphically violent.

This film is a very good dark mystery. It is hard to know what age is appropriate because each kid is different. If your child can handle graphic violence, go... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byrpXD123 October 16, 2018

Gratification Violence - TOO MUCH

I think that this isn't really the best book ever, and I definitely recommend what this site says. It has too much violence and too much language for kids... Continue reading

What's the story?

Adapted from Inger Ash Wolfe's novel of the same name, THE CALLING stars Susan Sarandon as Hazel Micallef, a surly detective in a small town who spends most of her day drinking and taking pills to numb her pain. When she discovers a gruesome murder and realizes its similarities to cases in neighboring counties, Hazel turns to Father Price (Donald Sutherland) to understand what "Liberare" -- the Latin phrase that the victims' mouths have been manipulated to say -- means in relation to the murders. With the help of Detective Ray Green (Gil Bellows) and the newest addition to her team, Ben Wingate (Topher Grace), Hazel must find and stop a zealot serial killer before he can complete an ancient prayer of resurrection.

Is it any good?

The bleak landscape of Hazel's quiet, small town of Port Dundas provides an eerie vibe to The Calling, and the ominous music adds to the suspense in this crime thriller. Although the serial killer's identity is confirmed midway through the movie, Christopher Heyerdahl's performance as the prophetic yet extremist Simon is best shown in the chilling scenes where he uses his faith to persuade his victims and his alternative medicine in an attempt to heal a young girl.

Sarandon effortlessly portrays a moody alcoholic whose pessimistic disposition often clouds her judgment, leading the audience to believe she may choose to become one of Simon's victims. Those familiar with the Bible will quickly recognize the religious references throughout the movie, and the ambiguous ending allows viewers to question Simon's faith.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the role of Internet communities in The Calling. Why do you think Simon's victims felt more comfortable reaching out to someone online than in person? Who do you reach out to when you need to talk to someone?

  • How is religion portrayed in the movie? Do you think any particular message was intended? What do you think happened at the end of the movie?

  • How are alcohol and substance abuse portrayed in the movie?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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