Mar. 20, 2013 - Issue #909: Water Crisis
The first, a psychological thriller, has Hitchcockian potential. After a girl's abducted, murdered and buried by a prowler—because emergency-operator Jordan (Halle Berry) called back and he heard the phone—a numbing buzz of trauma sets in. Jordan, on anti-depressants, quits phone-response to be a trainer at the call-centre. Then the prowler kidnaps another girl (Abigail Breslin), whose call from a car trunk reaches a rattled Jordan. The potential's enormous—claustrophobia crossing lines with surveillance networks as a guilt-wracked woman tries to keep a professional distance but also mother a frantic, trapped girl in a time-running-out effort to save her going from locked-away to dead-and-buried. Trouble is, Brad Anderson (Session 9) often revs when he should brake and draw out the suspense; soon, the story's rushing on, leaving behind its initial nice little details. A TV-movie-ish quality and some over-explaining don't help, but here comes ...
The second movie, a psycho-horror. There goes the movie's moments of jaggedly-cut, non-explicit violence, as the kidnapper takes his victim underground, where his childishly stunted subconscious is revealed, along with how luridly he's some twisted movie-cross between Buffalo Bill and Norman Bates. Soon, thriller coincidences become action contrivances. Much sneering, twitching and sordid creepiness with operating tables and mannequins later—plus Breslin's character stripped to her bra, just to scrape the bottom of the barrel-of-titillation—the movie's on the threshold of schlocky, torture-porn territory ...
Whereupon the third movie, a two-minute short film—The Call's conclusion—tosses into the gutter like a cheap burner-phone what little remaining character development and plausibility there was, all for a cheap vigilante-revenge twist that rings, and rings and rings hollow in our eyes.
Opens Now playing
Directed by: Brad Anderson
Vue respects your privacy. We will not forward your personal information to any other organization except as required by law, and will use your e-mail address only to respond to your comments. We reserve the right to edit and remove comments for length, clarity and/or if they are illegal or inappropriate. Your email address is never shown to visitors to vueweekly.com. Read the whole policy at: http://vueweekly.com/privacy