Cinematic Releases: The Call

Halle Berry's latest starring vehicle is a back to basics thriller that was eerily reminiscent of way too many movies to list. It's a definite throwback to some of the best female led thrillers of the 90's with a dash of modern technology throw on top. The film borrows heavily from Silence of the Lambs, Kiss the Girls and almost any other movie starring a deranged basement dwelling madman with a penchant for female blood. As much as I loved the respect it pays to its influences, it gets a bit heavy handed at times by overcompensating for a lack of great story with too many obvious nods.

Honestly, the first half of the movie had me teetering on the edge of my seat with ice cold drink in hand. It presents a truly horrifying situation that could definitely take place in reality. Yet, (and there's always a yet), the second half slides off the rails into outrageous territory with unbelievable plot holes and questionable character motivation that had me wondering what happened to the tense writing that made the opening 45 minutes so great. The film changes from reality based thriller to a SAW like horror film all in the matter of minutes. This tone change is quite apparent and ends up leading to a half baked conclusion.

The Call is directed by Brad Anderson, the man that made The Machinist, Transsiberian and the truly terrifying horror film, Session 9. The Call is not as good as any of its predecessors but still maintains some good qualities. The Call is loaded with tense scenes that reminded me of many films I love. As much as I love knowing someone's influences, I guess that was my problem with the movie. Instead of doing something original, Anderson decided to make a tribute to the thrillers that made the cinema so enjoyable back in the 90's and it never feels like his movie.

-3 out of 5 CG