Monday, July 12, 2021

The Call (2020)

Streaming Services: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: The Call (2020)
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Length: 97 minutes 
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Single Malt Productions, Appreciated Films, BondIt Media Capital, Kalispel Tribal Holdings, Buffalo 8 Productions, Cinedigm Entertainment Group, EuroVideo, Front Row Filmed Entertainment, Première TV Distribution
Director: Timothy Woodward Jr.
Writer:  Patrick Stibbs
Actors: Lin Shaye, Tobin Bell, Chester Rushing, Erin Sanders, Mike Manning, Sloane Morgan Siegel, Judd Lormand, Randy J. Goodwin
Blurb from IMDb: In the fall of 1987, a group of small-town friends must survive the night in the home of a sinister couple after a tragic accident brings them to the couple's door.

Selina’s Point of View:
The Call was not nearly as good as I hoped it would be.
When you see names like Lin Shaye and Tobin Bell starring in a horror flick together, it’s easy to expect magic. They’re both well-known for their horror careers. Putting them together should have been a winning combination.
Don’t get me wrong, they were both incredible. Shaye and Bell were just way too good for this movie. Any scene they were in, was heightened. When it was just the teens, though… it fell apart.
I had absolutely no sympathy for any of the protagonists. That’s a problem, because they experience some serious torture. It was essential to give a fuck. I didn’t.

If the entire story had been shown from Shaye’s character’s perspective – it would have been amazing. I would have loved to experience everything with her at the front. It would have put her and Bell right in the heart of every scene, and the other characters would be the set dressing they already were – but it would have been acceptable.
I will say, there were a few good scares. Nothing really blew me out of the water, and there were more plot holes than I can possibly sum up in a single article – but it wasn’t painful to watch. It was what it was – which was mediocre.
If you want to watch The Call, and see for yourself, it will arrive on Shudder, July 15.

Cat’s Point of View:
For those wanting to watch The Call, I have two initial suggestions for you. First, don’t sit too close to the screen if you have an issue with motion sickness. There’s a bit of shaky-cam going on periodically. It wasn’t the jolting found-footage variety, but everything bobbed and weaved a lot. Secondly, I would recommend not listening to The Call through headphones – so much screaming. I had to double-check that my ears weren’t bleeding by the time the credits rolled. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little but yikes all the same.
What it all boils down to is that I honestly don’t know if I liked The Call or not.
There were many spooky and mind-bending elements to appreciate within the movie. Several of the jump-scares got me for sure. I appreciated the late ‘80s nostalgia, and I was getting the vibe that there was some sort of homage to A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) put in a blender with Saw (2004). I’m a fan of both franchises and respected the attempt. I’m just not sure it worked.

When you have horror powerhouses such as Lin Shaye (Ouija: Origin of Evil, Gothic Harvest, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels) and Tobin Bell (The Flash, The Sandman, Gates of Darkness) involved with a production, it sets certain expectations. It might be a bit unrealistic and somewhat akin to judging a book by its cover, but I can’t help it. I was excited to see The Call based on their involvement and the trailer.
Unfortunately, the story felt a bit disjointed. The Call had a strange and slow start that felt awkward at times. When the supernatural shenanigans began, things were definitely picking up steam in the thrills department. I still managed to be a bit underwhelmed. There was a moment in one of the carnival scenes that an extra walking through took me completely out of the story for a moment. Their over-acting was so cloying that I sat surprised for a moment that the segment hadn’t hit the cutting room floor during editing.

Not to be punny by making a Jigsaw (2017) reference – but it felt like some of the pieces of this particular puzzle that made up The Call were missing when someone put it together. It seemed like a few pieces snuck in that belonged to a different picture and were crammed in anyway.
I will admit that I’ve been running on fumes in the energy department lately. Maybe that became a factor in my enjoyment – or lack thereof – here. I’d be interested in hearing what others think about The Call. Check it out on Shudder and let us know.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 53%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 72%
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 4.1/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating2.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating2.5/5
Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R
Movie Trailer:

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