The Call (2020) Review

A Serial Killer Thriller with a time-travel twist.  A Great Korean Horror with a really interesting mechanic.

Certificate: 15

Director: Chung-Hyun Lee

Screenwriter: Chung-Hyun Lee

Starring: Oh Jeong-Se, Jong-seo Jun, Dong-hwi Lee

Genre: Horror, Mystery

Runtime: 112 Minutes

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

Two young women, living in the same house, thirty years apart are somehow able to communicate with each other via telephone.  At first this is an amazing and wonderous discovery, and between them they are able to change some things that have happened in the past to improve the future.  But when Young-sook in the past begins to become more and more mentally unstable, the ramifications in the future become more and more extreme until Seo-yeon, in the present, is prepared to do whatever she can to get out of this violent and crazy chain of events.

Time travel is quickly becoming one of my favourite plot devices on films.  I have seen quite a lot of them in recent months and I love the million and one ways that you can play with it.  But it can be a tricky thing.  It is easy to confuse your viewer or make things a lot more convoluted then they need to be.  And while we don’t start off that way here, there crazier and more unhinged things become, the more you have to really concentrate in order to fully understand what is going on.  And then that ending happens and  you are left kind of scratching your head.  This is one film where you don’t want to click off the film as soon as Netflix asks you to, or you will miss something important.  Yet another argument for why streaming services should stop trying to force customers to skip the credits.

The pacing of this film is excellent, it goes at a mile a minute almost from the very beginning and doesn’t let up until the very, very end.  Just when you think you can relax, something else happens.  Buy the end we are fully empathising with Seo-Yeon who is exhausted and confused, because we as an audience are as well.  The film uses it’s brief moments of down-time very cleverly, they usually come after a huge plot twist, giving the audience a chance to digest and emotionally process what we have just seen before moving on.  So we really get emotionally involved with the story.

I don’t know if the sudden twist ending in the very final seconds of he film was completely necessary.  It isn’t properly explained and is left way too wide open.  A lot of suspension of belief is required for the whole film, as none of the time-travel elements are properly explained at all, but this quick ending, meant to leave the audience with a shocking last impression just seemed a little too outlandish to me.

Both leading actresses where phenomenal here.  They both had a lot to do, both physically and emotionally on screen, so the roles where quite demanding.  And neither of them really had the opportunity to play opposite other actors very often especially not Jong-seo Jun who plays Young-Sook, who spends most of the time on her own.  Also our two main characters share very, very little screen time together, so their whole dynamic has to played out over the phone, not an easy thing to do when the relationship between these two characters is as important to the plot as it is here.

For a break from all the Christmas warm and fuzzies this is a great watch for horror fans and fans of Crime thrillers, but with a little bit of a twist.  I would highly recommend giving it a go.

‘The Call’ is streaming now on Netflix.

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