Calibre follows two life-long friends who venture into the Scottish Highlands for a hunting excursion. After a horrible accident, the two find themselves embroiled with the locals in a life or death situation.
There is little fresh about the plot and themes of this movie. The hunting/camping trip gone wrong isn't new, the small town "handle our own business" take isn't new, and the combination of both isn't new either. So, it's important to know that going in, I think, that you aren't getting an original perspective on a well-trekked plot.
But perhaps what's worse is the film's attempt to tell the story of "the cover-up". It is my opinion that, unless you are doing a comedy, it is near-impossible to pull off the cover-up dynamic in which you have empathy for the characters. This film is simply unable to pull it off, and maybe they didn't care to, as you have mostly resentment and indifference to the survival/success of the two leads.
Yes, there is a brief period of empathy towards the beginning, but it fades gradually over time with every consecutive attempt to cover up the incident. And you're left feeling the tension of their predicament without a desire to see them get out of it. And it's a grueling experience. It's not simply a "feel-bad" movie, because many great films are somber for a majority of their runtime, it's just...bad.
But it's not all-bad. The acting is great, though Tony Curran doesn't get near enough screentime. And the atmosphere is well-executed in every forest shot and claustrophobic bar scene. It has the elements of strong filmmaking, it's just a forgettable plot with undeserving characters.
Again, that might be the point, but it's difficult for me to get through movies like this because it has such little redemptive qualities. Sure, you can say that about a lot of horror/thriller/suspense movies, but so many of them have an underlying current of heroism or good vs. evil that carries characters, and when everyone seems like a piece of crap, it's hard to care about the outcome.
Horror Qualifier: 6/10
Horror Quality: 4/10
Film Quality: 5/10