Even with the box office success of Passion of the Christ and Fireproof, Christian films still conjure thoughts of bad acting, flat storylines and syrupy Sunday school lessons. But the producers of a new Christian horror film say they have created an atypical thriller that is genuinely scary.
Dangerous Calling will be screened in churches this weekend as an alternative to traditional Halloween events.
The film centers on a new pastor who faces dire opposition from his leadership as he attempts to make changes to their small-town church. Although it lacks the gory scenes often seen in films of this genre, the movie is sure to hold the attention of young people, the film's distributor says.
"Because there are so many occultish or dangerous films we wanted to provide churches an alternate," said Andre van Heerdan, CEO of Cloud Ten Pictures, the film's distribution house. "Dangerous Calling delivers in a big way and is genuinely watch-through-your-fingers scary in a number of spots."
Van Heerdan, whose company is best known for producing the Left Behind series, says the film is not overtly Christian but that it will minister to young people through it's subtle messages of faith situated in everyday circumstances.
"[Faith] is part of the story," van Heerdan told Charisma. "You have elements of faith, but it's really everyday people dealing with everyday things."
The movie's writer/director duo, Josh and Jeremiah Daws, say they pulled from their father's experience as a pastor and from their time in youth groups to create the film. They believe the movie's realness will cause it to minister beyond the four walls of the church.
"I believe there's a market for this type of movie within the body of Christ and beyond," Josh Daws said.
Recently Dangerous Calling sparked an online debate about whether Christians should produce or even watch faith-based thrillers.
"A film like this would encourage negative thought patterns, paranoia and fear," one poster stated. "These are the tools of Satan to rob us of our God given joy."
But another blogger, referring to Paul's sermon on Mars Hill in Acts, said Christians should be willing to use nontraditional tools to reach people with the gospel.
"Some folks who would never watch a typical Christian movie will watch a film like Dangerous Calling," the poster wrote. "I personally believe that we need to stop preaching to the choir with our films and use the 'unknown god' of filmmaking to our advantage to reach the lost world for Christ."
The PG-13 rated flick will not be played on the silver screen but will be released on DVD in 2010. Churches that want to show the film this weekend can purchase a public license on the film's Web site.
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