Main cast: Chester Rushing (Chris Mitchell), Erin Sanders (Tonya Michaels), Mike C Manning (Zack Lambert), Sloane Morgan Siegel (Brett Lambert), Lin Shaye (Edith Cranston), and Tobin Bell (Edward Cranston)
Director: Timothy Woodward Jr
There is another movie with the same name that came out in 2020, and I would suggest everyone to watch that one instead. This The Call is an embarrassing cash-in on current horror fads, and it also drives home that Tobin Bell and Lin Shaye will show up in anything for a paycheck. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make hay while the sun is shining, but still, how about drawing a line at showing up in things that one normally won’t agree to while sober.
Chris Mitchell is a new kid in town, although early on it is blatantly hinted that he left behind quite a bit of drama in his previous hometown. He quickly befriends Tonya Michaels, a chirpy lady with an attitude, and she introduces him to her ex-boyfriend and token a-hole Zack and Zack’s brother Brett. Really, Brett’s entire character is that he’s Zack’s brother, and it’s easy to miss even that when one isn’t paying too much attention to the painfully banal and clichéd adults-posing-as-teens stuff taking place on screen.
Tonya blames a former daycare operator Edith Cranston for the death of her sister, who was supposed to be under Edith’s care when the tragedy happened, so she, Zack, and Brett drag Chris along for their usual torment-the-old-woman night games. Edith finally hangs herself, and her husband Edward soon notifies them that she has left them a lot of money each as long as they agree to one thing. They each must walk along a darkened corridor to this room and pick up the phone to call a number listed by the phone. Stay on the phone until time is up and voila, the money is theirs. How hard can it be?
Well, they have to each go to the phone and make the call on their own, and I’m sure folks will never guess who is at the other end of the line.
This movie is dumb. It’s set in the 1980s, which I suppose explains the phone, but I will never know it from just how the film fails so miserably to capitalize on the setting. It’s like these people see how successful Stranger Things had been and go, hey, let’s also set this movie in the 1980s because it’s what every successful horror flick does these days. Then, who cares about building up tension and scares. This movie operates on the premise that all you need to scare the wits out of the audience is to have lots of long, slow walking down a dark corridor and plenty of loud sounds. Yes, it’s that same game again of idiots walking slow motion down the dark hallway as the background music gets louder and louder… and right at the loudest point of the sound some jump scare appears to try to rupture everyone’s eardrums.
Then, we have the “ghostly effects”. It’s like the people behind the movie saw how crap like The Nun made lots of money for some ghastly reason, and so they force Timmy to sit behind a laptop with a pirated studio software and insist that Timmy do his best to replicate the same “big mouth, dark eyes” lazy-ass monster effects that were used to overkill in those crap movies. Hey, some people still like those Korean horror movies, right? Then Timmy has better animate those fake cheap-looking lazy-ass monsters to move like the arthritic bastard brat of Sadako and Ju-On or they will flush his goldfish down the toilet.
As for the “drama”, it’s all tired rehashed teen tropes. Oh no, the bully has an abusive father, how surprising. Tonya claims that Edith killed her sister… will anyone be shocked to discover the identity of the person actually responsible for that brat’s death? If you are, you must be new to the present crop of crap The Conjuring Universe-wannabe movies, and I can only hope you flee before those movies completely destroy your soul. Chris is perhaps the least unlikable one of the lot of so-called teenagers in this movie, but even then, he’s a poorly drawn character made up of tired teen movie clichés and I’m perfectly fine with him being dragged to hell or something.
In fact, if anything, The Call only drives home the fact that all these horrid cheap and rushed films can rot the brain and eat the soul if one were to subside on it for too long. Even then, this one belongs to the bottom of the barrel of such movies. I hope Ms Shaye and Mr Bell are proud of the paycheck they received from being in this thing, because I for sure can’t be proud of their appearance here at all. Seriously? Are times really that bad?