Posted May 23, 2013 by Mikael Angelo Francisco in Movies/TV


Troika Pictures/WWE Studios
94 minutes
MTRCB Rating: R-16 


Strangely enough, the worst part of The Call is the ending.

For anyone planning to see this film without any prior expectations, The Call does more than deliver. In fact, it’s a breath of fresh air, presenting sequence after sequence of grisly terror set against a gruesome backdrop that does not see the need to resort to cheap shaky-cam tricks, otherworldly creatures, or other inhuman horrors.

Unlike the standard Asian horror film techniques that we’ve seen across multiple films in the past decade, the violent and shocking air looming over The Call relies on the simple manipulation of human fear, instead of a predictable, “unbeatable” physical or supernatural threat. This results in 94 minutes of pulse-pounding, nerve-wracking suspense…that is unfortunately resolved in perhaps the most anti-climactic way possible.

The primary antagonist of the film, an obsessed psychotic with a penchant for victimizing young girls, manages to be more than a challenge for local law enforcement, while simultaneously retaining a very human, albeit secretly sick and festering, persona. An unhinged man with nothing to lose, his actions move the protagonist – Halle Berry, who, in this film, portrays a 911 operator who finds herself involved in this mess – to take matters into her own hands.

The Call makes use of three major settings (and a couple of minor stopovers), the centerpiece of them all being the 911 assistance office from where the protagonist operates. About fifteen minutes into the film, we are quickly taken for a suspense-filled ride, as the protagonist finds herself on the receiving end of a life-changing call… and subsequently embroiled in circumstances beyond her control.

There is not much to be said about the film’s shortcomings – there are very few, if any, and most are hardly noticeable. It’s actually a relatively smooth ride from start to finish. The story is detailed without being too complicated, the timing is just right, and the visuals and acting are powerful without going overboard.

Regrettably, the ending feels rushed and abrupt, and your surprise would probably hinge less on the outcome of the film and more on the fact that you probably weren’t expecting the movie to end at the moment it actually did. The reaction in the screening I attended was consistent from all corners of the theater – a resounding “that was it?” that somehow managed to dilute the impact of the almost-two hours’ worth of suspense that came before the ending itself.

This film has violence, blood, and a couple of rather disturbing implications, specifically about the villain of the piece. I wouldn’t recommend this film to the faint of heart, the elderly, and the easily offended; for everyone else, though, The Call can definitely hold its own as a satisfactory suspense thriller. It would have been better, however, if it were given an ending that wasn’t written with the sole intent of letting the main character be a weary, bloodied instrument of irony.


Many many thanks to Captive Cinema (Like them on Facebook HERE) and Robinsons Movieworld (Like them on Facebook HERE) for the special screening of The Call.

Mikael Angelo Francisco