This one took me completely by surprise. I thought I had this one pegged after the first five minutes but I was very wrong. What I thought was going to be a simple “jealous guy stalks his ex-wife” went in a totally different direction. But the best thing is that it works and I ended up really enjoying THE CALLER.
Mary Kee (Rachelle Lefevre) is going through a rough patch. As the film begins we see her going through a nasty divorce from Steven (Ed Quinn) and has to put a restraining order on him (he’s not the “we grew apart” ex; he’s the “hitty, abusive” ex). So Mary Kee moves into a new apartment and almost immediately starts getting strange calls from an elderly lady, Rose (Lorna Raver) who keeps asking to speak to “Bobby.” What starts off as an apparently mis-dialed number turns into something more supra-natural and insidious (and no; it’s not a lame-ass ghost calling her). That’s right; I wrote “supra”-natural, not supernatural. I’m keeping this one vague because I want you to all experience the film as I did and have no knowledge of anything going into this one. Let’s just say that THE CALLER messes around with the concept of time and how easy it is to ruin one’s life from the past. Yeah I know … it’s vague, but trust me that you’ll like this one.
Director Matthew Parkhill does a great job controlling the story and never lets it get too complicated or self-contradictory. Parkhill also does a great job creating a very creepy and paranoid atmosphere. Soon after Mary Kee gets her first phone call from Rose she feels as though someone is following her. Is this just in her mind or is something/one stalking her? Is it her unstable ex or is it connected to the strange calls she’s been getting from Rose?
THE CALLER is a really effective horror-thriller that, granted, has zero gore in it, but has such a great plot that’s handled so well that you buy into it whole-heartedly. We also end up really caring for Mary Kee’s character. She’s not some bimbo who constantly does and says stupid things thereby making her situation worse. Mary Kee is an intelligent 20-something woman who gets caught up in something supra-natural and tries to figure out how best to get out of it. Little by little the people around her are “taken away” from her and she realizes she can rely only on herself to get out of the bizarre situation she’s in. Writer Sergio Casci does a really great job with the plot, and the ending is completely satisfying and doesn’t suddenly “change the rules” that the first half of the film established.
The only problem I had with THE CALLER was that a hip 20-something woman would have an old school rotary phone that the calls are being made on. Really? Can you still buy those fuckers? Where the hell would you even find them? But I was able to set this small detail aside and buy into the premise. If you do you’re in for a fun ride. THE CALLER is opening in limited release on Friday, August 26, 2011. I’ll keep you all posted when it hits DVD and MOD/VOD. Check this one out!!
Director: Matthew Parkhill
Plot: 4 out of 5 stars
Gore: 0 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer