What do you think makes a recipe for an enjoyable horror film?
Recently released, The Call took some mischievous teens, put them in the 1980’s, gave them an unsolved murder as part of their backstory, and added in horror icons Tobin Bell and Lin Shaye. Sounds like solid ingredients, right?
The Call focuses on Chris, Laura, Brent, and X who like to torment Edith Cranston, whom they believe murdered Laura’s little sister. The day after one of their ritual visits to her home, Edith dies. Although they want nothing more than to move on and believe they had nothing to do with her death, Edith’s widower calls them to his home to deliver two messages. First, yes, they did help to bring about her death, and secondly, Edith has left her tormentors in her will.
Say what? Seriously. Edith has left the offer of $100,000 to each of the teens, provided they play a game: she has been buried with a phone. They are to call her phone and stay on the line for one minute. Sounds easy, right?
It’s not. I forgot to mention that when Edith was alive, there were rumors that she was a witch. Apparently those rumors were true because through the phone call, she is able to pull the callers into their worst memories.
While I enjoyed this film, it is far from perfect. There were all the right ingredients, but they still did not blend well enough to make this movie as great as it could’ve been. Tobin Bell and Lin Shaye are great, as always, but it is hard to see them in the roles of the Cranstons without having a taste of their more famous roles (the Saw films and the Insidious films, if you are not familiar with their work) in your memory.
The teen characters were not very unique, so they felt like cliched roles. Honestly, I did not mind seeing them tortured at all. The backstory of Edith as a witch and a potential murderer needed to be slowed down. I only saw the four friends as jerks picking on an old lady, not upset townspeople wanting to make a villain pay. And because I was not pulled into the film as much as I thought I would’ve been, it gave me time to overanalyze while watching, so I was able to guess the ending. It was a decent one, but it needed more of a lead up and more deceit, so it wasn’t so easy to see coming.
What did work? The concept was what made me want to watch this in order to review it. The idea was full of promise. Despite the over reliance on jump scares, it was fun to see the character’s stuck in their bad past experiences; it was an original kind of torture that I wish Tobin Bell would’ve had more of a hand in, rather than just giving the instructions.
So while I was not fully satisfied with The Call, I’m still glad that I answered it and took the time to watch the film. I may even give it another try to see if there were tasty bits that I missed. Maybe it will be one of those films that I enjoy later when I go to rewatch it.
The Call is now available on DVD and digital download in the UK from Dazzler Media.