MASINGA THE CALLING – Review by Youssra el-Sharkawy

Masinga The Calling blends crime, mystery and black magic

Despite living far away from his homeland, Masinga’s past is still haunting him, especially when this past is full of questions without answers. These questions were revived when he got the chance to come back to his homeland.

Directed by Mark Engels, Masinga The Calling is  a paranormal thriller that blends crime, visions and black magic.

The movie features Masinga (Hakeem Kae Kazim), an African-born Interpol detective who is living in London. He decides to return to his homeland to investigate a case involving Ukrainian female teenagers trafficking. But, while investigating the case, Masinga is confronted by his past and he remembers the mysterious death of his Albino brother that he has no answer about.

But, Masinga is not an ordinary man. He has clairvoyance, so he sees visions of things before it happens. 

While trying to save the teenagers, Masinga meets Xia, a teen Asian paranormal celebrity targeted by the antagonist Jeremiah Mills (Sean Cameron Michael) due to her opposition to her country’s exploitation of Africa’s resources. Jeremiah, who is involved in black magic, sees Xia as a valuable ritual offering that will help him gain more power.

However, Xia – who shares the same paranormal powers – was able to communicate with Masinga through telepathy. In some scenes, Xia appears to be the reincarnated spirit of his brother, who guides his investigation. 

The movie discusses a number of issues including, Asian exploitation of Africa’s resources with the help of corrupt government officials and sex trafficking, but these ideas were discussed superficially as the main focus is on the spiritual journey of the leading character Masinga, his visions and the thin line that ties his past with his present.

This line starts when Masinga went to his father to inform him that he is traveling to investigate a case. His crippled father warned him against traveling and showed him a photo of his late Alpino brother. But, Masinga insists on traveling. His past also appears when Xia transforms into his brother.

But, from the very beginning, the director introduces black magic as a main theme in the film. This appears in the first scene that shows an African magician, whose features are not clearly shown, casting a magical spell. The following scene we see an African minister in a lavish hotel’s suite uncovering his dinner to find severed human hands and an eye; the minister dies at the moment.

The quick beginning offers a mix of mystery, gloomy atmosphere and thrill. But, as the events develop, it doesn’t clearly appear how Masinga got his paranormal powers, as if it is normal for a person to see real visions.

One of the good aspects of the movie is how the relationship between the characters is featured. When returning to his homeland, Masinga met with a female officer who accompanied him in his investigation. As the events progress, we discover that this officer is the daughter of Jeremiah Mills – the man behind all the crimes.

Other points of strength in the movie is that the acting is great and there are good visual effects and a complex narrative that blends visions, magic and mystery.

Catch the film at the Durban International Film Festival:

Screening Schedule:
20 July 2024, 8:00 PM – 9:25 PM

Author: Youssra el-Sharkawy

This review emanates from the Talent Press programme, an initiative of Talents Durban in collaboration with the Durban FilmMart Institute and FIPRESCI. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author (Youssra el-Sharkawy) and cannot be considered as constituting an official position of the organisers.

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