THE TOKOLOSHE: THE CALLING (2021)
The Tokoloshe: The Calling is a South African supernatural thriller that finds writer Arish (Arish Sirkissoon) staying with his wife Angelina (Angela Balkovic) and their adopted daughter Thembi (Shezi Sibongiseni) at an abandoned hotel, so he can write. The hotel has a dark past and before you can say The Shining, Arish and his family fall under attack from a demonic spirit known as a tokoloshe.
Supernatural thriller is directed by Richard Green, from his script with star Arish Sirkissoon, and despite the interesting South African supernatural folklore, chooses to focus more on being a retread of The Shining. It’s too bad, as the tokoloshe sounds like an interesting bit of untapped folklore for a movie such as this, but Green instead decides to replay moments of the Stanley Kubrick classic. We get spectral children, ghostly bartenders and guests, along with a writer whose temperament is become shorter by the day. Thembi even rides her bike through the hallways a la Danny. If we didn’t get the idea that Green is a Stephen King fan, there is also an appearance by a red balloon to make sure we do. There is such a missed opportunity here, as with so little known about South African supernatural folklore, this flick really could have been something fresh in the haunting sub-genre. Instead we only get sparse background on this demonic creature of South African legend. Green does make good use of his spooky hotel setting and does create some atmospheric shots, even in broad daylight. Maybe next time he will have more faith in his own ideas and leave recycling his influences behind. Flick gets a little extra credit for trying something new with what tokoloshe folklore, that it should have been even more about, and for it’s South African locations. The Tokoloshe: The Calling is a tight 72 minutes in length and is available today (09/03/21) on VOD.