• Maxwell J.

You’ll Be Checking Your Phone Every Ten Minutes or So Before The Call (2020) Finally Ends

Updated: Feb 2, 2021

Title: The Call

First Wide Release: October 2, 2020 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)

Director: Timothy Woodward Jr

Writer: Patrick Stibbs

Runtime: 95 Minutes

Starring: Lin Shaye, Tobin Bell, Chester Rushing

Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here


Set in 1987, The Call tells the story of a group of teenagers that terrorize an older woman (Lin Shaye) for her role in the disappearance of a young girl. After she dies, the teens are summoned by her husband (Tobin Bell) to reveal that they have been included in her will. All they have to do is go upstairs and complete a one-minute phone call to his late wife. What follows is a night of supernatural terror the hapless kids may not survive. Timothy Woodward Jr directs this supernatural horror film.


The Call is a dreary and oddly paced tale of revenge from beyond the grave that pales in comparison to similar films.

The story progression of The Call is offbeat and does attempt to shake things up with subpar results. I didn’t expect the path taken here, but that doesn’t mean it is well-done. The motive is predictable, as is the twist. Anyone with minimal experience in the genre can tell you exactly what is about to happen with The Call. I will give credit to the slightly inspired premise. The idea of a phone call transporting you to a nightmare realm is exciting and interesting. Unfortunately, the nightmares presented here are bland and forgettable. The Call also commits one of the very few cinema sins I absolutely hate, which is simply ending without offering any sort of resolution.


The characters within this universe do not make sense. I don’t understand the dynamic of the main character friend group, nor the older couple they pester. Their motivations are not developed thoroughly and often seem very silly. Furthermore, aside from a bit of foreshadowing for the two lead characters, half of the group gets no buildup to their sequences. Why should we care when there is no signal for us? Regardless, it doesn’t matter because the acting is largely mediocre anyway. On a final note, I’m begging Lin Shaye and Tobin Bell to stop agreeing to work in films like this and start picking movies more deserving of their time.


I do appreciate the vibe that The Call goes for here. I’m not sure if this makes sense but it looks like a modern film that was made to look like an 80s film. Some of the artistic decisions make the movie feel more fleshed out and interesting. The nighttime sequences are washed in a bright red veneer that screams creepy, especially when contrasted with the set. Unfortunately, the film gets so dark that you can barely tell what is going on half the time. I imagine they do this to hide how cheap it looks.

Not particularly entertaining, not particularly technically adept, and not particularly memorable, the scenes go o just can’t claw its way up from being a markedly below average ghost story. The pacing is really off here. Once the teenagers return to the mansion after Lin Shaye’s character dies, the film loses much of its steam. This is problematic considering this is where most of the horror begins. It’s likely this happens due to the repetitive nature of its second and third acts. A character will walk upstairs, use the phone, and be transported into a nightmare realm where they are killed. Wash, rinse, and repeat with the next one, and that is the latter half of the film. It’s dull.


It’s not the worst film out there, nor is it even close to being one of the worst offerings of 2020, but The Call just can’t claw its way up from being a markedly below average ghost story. The pacing is really off here. Once the teenagers return to the mansion after Lin Shaye’s character dies, the film loses much of its steam. This is problematic considering this is where most of the horror begins. It’s likely this happens due to the repetitive nature of its second and third act. A character will walk upstairs, use the phone, and be transported into a nightmare realm where they are killed. Wash, rinse, and repeat with the next one, and that is the latter half of the film. It’s dull.

No particularly entertaining, not particularly technically adept, and not particularly memorable, The Call suffers from its profound emptiness. It views like a film that should premiere in between a Syfy original movie and a Leprechaun sequel in a tv movie marathon on a Sunday morning. While it does show promise of something half-way decent, I cannot in good conscience recommend this film to anyone. If you ever find yourself feeling the need to answer The Call, do yourself a favor and don’t pick up.


Overall Score? 4/10

1 view0 comments