The Call (2020) – Movie Review
19th May 2021 Written by Peter Walkden
Please Note – This film is Available on Shudder US & CA (Not Australia*)
The year is 1987 and Chris (Chester Rushing) is a teenager arriving at a new school after something awful occurred at his last school. To run away from his last school and the situation, he and his mother move town and start fresh. On his first day, he tries to be relaxed and blend in, and he soon meets a young girl named Tonya (Erin Sanders). Tonya shows him around school and invites Chris to hang out with her and her close friends.
One night while the group hang out at the local circus, Tonya and her friends reveal to Chris that she used to have a sister who sadly disappeared. Tonya and her friends all swear that a woman named Edith Cranston (Lin Shaye) is responsible. Edith used to run a day-care centre which Tonya’s sister attended. To this day, Edith has never confessed to anything, but Tonya and her friends all know she did it. Instead of moving on or believing her, the group decide to go to her house after the circus and make her suffer while the new guy Chris tags along innocently. The group also suspect Edith is some old witch.
The group of four visit her home just like they have done countless times in the past. Previously they have broken her windows and slashed her tyres along with other horrible things. This time, when they visit Edith, they find she’s home, and she confronts them in an upset and angry manner (and rightly so!). After the group walk away, Edith commits suicide. Edith’s husband Edward (Tobin Bell) contacts the four teens and invites them into his home. He explains that Edith left each of them something in her will and always loved playing games. All they need to do is walk into the study one at a time and call a number located next to the telephone. If they can stay on the phone for one minute, they each get $100,000. Sound easy, right? Let the games begin.
The Call has several pleasing elements when it comes to the genre of horror. I found the first half of this film to be terrific. We have a great understanding of our leading characters, especially Chris and Tonya. I also enjoyed the film’s concept of a dark past involving Tonya’s sister and what sounds like a creepy yet easy way to earn $100,000. While actors Lin Shaye and Tobin Bell have brief screen appearances, their presence was highly effective and memorable. The film is set in the ’80s, another aspect of the film I loved seeing, and the film’s soundtrack complimented it.
But sadly, for me, the second half of this film slowed right down and became a letdown ultimately. There are certainly moments of creativity, but the film felt entirely different in its pace. I also found the second half of the film somewhat predictable, whereas the first half was always new with a surprise at every turn.
Overall, The Call certainly has a fun level of creativity as a horror film. For me, the first half of this film felt exciting and fresh, with a fond surprise at every corner. While actors Lin Shaye and Tobin Bell appear briefly, they bring a memorable and powerful presence. However, the film’s second act changed dramatically in pace, story, and level of predictability, which naturally hurts the overall journey of this film significantly.
The Call (2020) is Now Available on DVD!
Available on Shudder US & CA (Not Australia*)