Director Brad Anderson has provided some effective thrills and chills in the past with movies such as ‘The Machinist’ and ‘Session 9’ however he seems to running out of steam with every subsequent effort after that, be it the train thriller ‘Transsiberian’ or his latest offering ‘The Call’. Originally conceived as a television series about the workings of a 911 call centre, the thriller plays out instead as a sporadically interesting and tense movie that goes ape-shit in the last twenty minutes or so.
Jordan (Halle Berry) was one of the best 911 operators who now trains other rookies. The reason she left taking calls was a mistake on her part that resulted in the murder of a young girl at the hands of a psychopath. Now many years later, fate puts in her hands the life of yet another girl kidnapped by a serial killer. As the young girl, Casey (Abigail Breslin), is trapped in the back of a car on a phone with Jordan, the killer roams about knocking more people off. The phone is of a disposable kinds hence, they can’t lock onto it’s location and end the movie right away. Jordan must use every little hint she can gain to save Casey and get some redemption.
The movie works very well till Casey is on the phone. It’s littered with little sequences of real suspense that elevate it’s quality but the moment Casey’s call with Jordan is cut off for good, things fall apart pretty quickly, spiralling into an utter mess. The scenes such as the one when Casey’s asked by Jordan to break out a tail-light and stick her hand out to alert other drivers is harrowing but then nullified by the stupidity of the ending that makes everything utterly unbelievable.
Halle Berry is confident in her role but ultimately this is more of a sleepwalk than real acting bit for her. Abigail Breslin too gets a similar treatment while Michael Eklund lacks the creepy factor and in the end particularly comes across as nothing but pathetic.
The inner-workings of the 911 call centre are kind of interesting to watch but it makes you wonder how much of it is jazzed up for “dramatic effect”. This is a movie that could have done with some more believability in the last quarter, wait for it to arrive on home video.view less