Two lifelong friends (Vaughn, played by Jack Lowden, and Marcus, played by Martin McCann) head up to an isolated Scottish Highlands village for a weekend hunting trip.
Vaughn isn’t sure about the whole ‘hunting thing’, but eventually he gives in… however, what should’ve been the starting point for a good, fun time, turned into a nightmare when the hunters become preys.
This is the bare-born plot to Calibre, a made-for-Netflix horror/thriller that got extremely positive reviews and nearly universal acclaim.
Surely the movie utilises an original premise (people going into the woods and some crazy shit happens) but it turns that into a compelling, enjoyable and rather intense crime horror flick.
The first thing I want to praise about Calibre is the comradery between Vaughn and Marcus, with the actors giving fantastic and genuine performances. They seem friends in real life, they are everything but one-dimensional, they alternate smart decisions with more naïve and instinctive choices. The whole cast, including people from the village, indeed give quite believable performances with their strangely captivating accent and understandable motivations.
Continue reading and check my final grade below…
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The pacing is also well-balanced, since there aren’t dull moments and nor uneventful scenes. Albeit devoid of any ‘classically horror moments’, Calibre manages to be eerie and unsettling due to the subtle but effective dialogues, the little hints to violence, the dreadful feel surrounding Vaughn and Marcus after something tragic happens.
Yet, the bold filmmaking choice of not having any music nor score during the first 30/40 minutes of runtime gave Calibre an extra layer of realism, which very much fits the story and its realistic characters.
That is until the filmmakers decided to overdramatise certain sequences by playing some not so great tracks in the background of scenes that would have worked better with no sounds. Then again, one of these scenes towards the end of the film, actually helped the impact of said scene.
Another complaint I have is that the story itself is not that interesting to me. I feel like the protagonists are much larger than the plot: their complexity outdoes a storyline that is perhaps too simple and devoid of any depth.
Overall, Calibre is quite a frustrating film for me. Simply put, I don’t think it has many issues or flaws but at the same time I don’t like it as much as I want to. Nonetheless, most people seem to like it so give it a shot and decide for yourself.