My Rating: 6/10
The Call is a South Korean Horror movie about two women in different decades, connected by an old cordless phone.
It begins with Seo-Yeon reclaiming her family home. The fact that she’d lost her cell phone at some point is kinda wedged in there—doesn’t really come up again, and serves as a briefly mentioned catalyst for why she’s using this old phone. She receives creepy phone calls, and the desperate voice on the other end is soon revealed to be that of Young-Sook: a woman being abused by her mother twenty years ago.
From that point, they become friends. They bond, and as you can imagine—this being a horror movie and all—that does not go well.
This movie did a good job of pulling me in. Just enough paranormal stuff right from the start to make the slow pace feel not-so-slow. The calls were mysterious and sometimes chilling. The acting was decent, the writing decent, all the technical shit was well on point. Hell, even awesome in some places! I liked the protagonist, Seo-Yeon almost immediately, though the tension between her and her mother made her seem like a jerk, but I figured that would be explained later.
Which it wasn’t really, but I’ll get to that.
The Call hits the mark with a lot of good horror shit. It’s not a jump scare movie, it’s more a nail-biter. It relies on tension and emotional carnage, with elements of a good ‘ol slasher sprinkled in.
It’s not overly gory. There’s plenty of blood, though most of the violence happens off screen. The tension and horror of this movie is in these two women’s interactions and the impacts they have on each other’s lives. The twists, though sometimes predictable, were creative enough to keep me on the edge of my seat. The chaotic evil of the antagonist was downright mesmerizing, and also kinda sexy, but that probably says more about me than the movie… Okay, forget I said that.
Some bits weren’t as impressive. Such as Seo-Yeon’s aforementioned tension with her mother. It feels like a missed opportunity. They don’t get into it much, until way later, and even then it feels forced. Some characters suffer from horror-movie-itis where they make such terrible decisions you find yourself either shouting at them or just throwing your hands up in the air and waiting for the consequences to hit them like a murderous truck.
By the time the climax teetered towards the conclusion, I distinctly felt the length of the movie. I was still on the edge of my seat, but less so. Definitely still invested in Seo-Yeon’s plight and all that jazz, and happy to see some things from the beginning get tied in again after an hour of being completely forgotten by both me and the story.
Overall, The Call is a great movie. The things that are good about it are good enough to earn that 7/10 it has on IMDB, and I would recommend it to any horror fan. The things I didn’t like, such as couple harmful cliché aspects of the antagonist, are important enough to me that I have to go a little lower with my score, but don’t let that deter you. And don’t let the first slow-as-hell 10 minutes deter you either. Push through!
Seriously, watch it. It’s fucking cool.
The Call is currently available on Netflix.
Other movie reviews by Sam Clover:
Sam Clover is a published author of M/M speculative fiction. Though she dabbles in a variety of genres, dark themes always find ways to permeate her work. She is a prairie girl from east of the Canadian Rockies, and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community. Her debut book “Cold Snap” was released by Ninestar Press in December of 2020.
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