In the same way that a car can only hold so much gas, the plot and longevity of a film has a limit. Most films only outstay their welcome by a few minutes, while there are others that should have been short films. 90 minutes has become the unspoken golden standard of movie lengths, not too long, not too short, just right. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule when a film is expansive and epic, but this time frame leaves most films enough time to fully explore their plot. Caleb is a creepy, spooky town, vampire film that could have been memorable and fun but instead, it has been made into a bloated slog of a film.
Rebecca’s sister Elena has been missing for over 3 months, having disappeared without a trace. After doing some research Rebecca discovers a lead that says her sister’s last know destination was the small village of Timere. A village that shows up on no map and has a history of disappearances, Rebecca journeys there in hopes of finding Elena. The local celebrity of the town is a man only known as Mr. Caleb who seems dark and mysterious but is far more dangerous than Rebecca could possibly imagine.
When Rebecca arrives in the villages she is immediately warned by a creepy local that misbehaving tourists are not welcome in Timere, setting an ominous tone. From here she interacts with more strange locals and slowly begins to learn about the mysterious town with a few other visitors. As cliched as the model is for visitors to a creepy location Caleb pulls it off well, but it’s simple and straightforward plot can not carry a 200 minute run time. As expected the film feels like it just meanders and has spontaneous nightmare sequences that pad the run time.
The longest and most insulting waste of time in the film is trying to humanize the title character Caleb 100 minutes into the film when he has already been established as a monster and is the antagonist of the film. It is shown that Caleb has suffered tragedies in his life at the hands of his absurdly evil father who is just evil for the sake of the story, to the extent that he stomps a puppy. If the film wanted to be a story about a good man’s fall to darkness through misfortune, that is fine, but it should not be crammed into a creepy town vampire narrative.
There is a decent movie buried in the run time of Caleb. Much in the same way, there is a cut of The Hobbit trilogy that incorporates all three films into a single movie, there is a cut of Caleb that is spooky, fun, and exciting but as it stands it is a slog with a decent intro. A fan of vampire films could find something enjoyable in this film but the average movie watcher will find themselves bored to tears after the 90-minute mark.
4 out of 10