Who loves a good remake? The idea of remakes has become quite the controversial topic as many film-goers clamor for original content. But what makes them so displeasing to people? Many fans of films hold them sacred and do not want to see anyone potentially ruin them. There have been some great ones in the history of film, but most do not turn out well. But why am I spending so much time talking about remakes? Tokoloshe-The Calling is not a remake…or is it? Let’s be honest, this film is basically The Shining.
But is that true? How is Tokoloshe basically just a remake of The Shining? First off, we can take a beautifully creepy shot of our setting…a hotel…right off the bat which is basically the same exact framing as Kubrick’s introduction of The Overlook. Then the plot is about a writer coming to this isolated hotel to get some writing done which just so happens to be filled with spirits. Even better, there are a pair of creepy kids together in the halls that magically appear and a bar/ballroom full of older ghost people. Seriously, writer-director Richard Green does not have an idea so he just decided to make a South African version of The Shining.
If you are going to create a film full of “homages”, you want to get those “homages” from a classic, right? But does Green do anything particularly new or interesting with this basic framework from Kubrick’s classic? Not quite. Right off the jump, there are obvious issues with both the visuals and audio of the film. The music is incredibly loud and drowns out the actual audio from the scene. This sound mixing is an issue and is quite exhausting after a while. The visuals are also quite inconsistent and distracting. The stylish filters used by the cinematographer are not great to look at. The editing is choppy as well because the narrative flow is non-existent. Where is this film going? It is hard to tell from scene-to-scene. The acting is not particularly strong either and the Tokoloshe itself feels like an afterthought.
What in this film stands out a distinguishable positive? Honestly…I cannot really think of any. I wish the worst issues this film had was the shameless ripping off The Shining. Unfortunately, nothing is done well or interestingly to warrant experiencing this 75-minute film. The Shining is literally twice it’s runtime yet feels half as long. Not quite a film worth seeking out.