Director Brad Anderson’s The Call is a suitably tense thriller which is let down by a ludicrous final third.
Jordan is an experienced 911 call operator. When she makes an error on a call, she is unsure whether she can go back to her front-line duties. When a young girl is kidnapped, however, it is Jordan who must keep her on the phone…
The premise of The Call is one that is interesting and probable enough. There is sufficient apprehension to retain the audience’s attention. The film offers a sense of mystery and suspense; in this way it is a competent thriller.
The Call‘s downfall begins in the film’s final third. The highly implausible incidents tot up, reaching a crescendo of incongruousness. What is for the most part a tense thriller descends into laughter at the ludicrous turn of events. It is difficult to take the final third of the film seriously.
It does not seem that the film is attempting to evoke a strong shift in tone. Nevertheless, the incidents in the final third seem so disjointed and implausible that it almost feels as if they have been included for comedic purposes.
The Call evokes shades of other thrillers and horror movies. This is most prominent through the antagonist. The film’s writers were clearly influenced by other films in trying to depict him as a psychopath. The Call works best when the audience is told very little about him, as this retains the sense of mystery.
Abigail Breslin offers a decent performance as kidnapped girl Casey. Halle Berry is adequate as Jordan for the most part; it is the script rather than Berry that is at fault later in the film. Special effects at the end of the film have a veneer of artificiality to them.
The Call does not quite fit the category of guilty pleasure. If the film had continued as it started, then it would have made for a more successful picture.