THE CALL (2020) Reviews and overview

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The Call is a 2020 American supernatural horror film about the death of an elderly woman suspected to be a witch. A group of friends who tormented her are forced to call a phone installed in her casket. To their horror, someone on the other end picks up and shows them what Hell really looks like…

Directed by Timothy Woodward Jr. (The Final Wish; Gnome Alone) from a screenplay written by Patrick Stibbs, the movie stars Lin Shaye (The Voices; Room for Rent; Insidious franchise), Tobin Bell (Gates of Darkness; Belzebuth; Saw franchise), Chester Rushing and Erin Sanders. Produced by Jeffrey Reddick (Don’t Look Back; Sleep No More; Final Destination franchise).

The soundtrack score was composed by Samuel Joseph Smythe (The Final Wish).

In the fall of 1987, a group of small-town friends must survive the night in the home of a sinister couple after a tragic accident occurs. Needing only to make a single phone call, the request seems horribly ordinary until they realize that this call could change their life… or end it. This simple task quickly spirals into terror as their worst nightmares become reality as they enter the realm of The Call…

“Aside from Shaye, Bell, and somewhat Chester Rushing, everyone is as bland as you’d expect. As a ghost story, you don’t need a lot of blood and gore, but I think it could have elevated the vanilla aspects here into some good old-fashioned shock value.” Arrow in the Head

The Call provides a decent set-up to a parade of shame-based terror, but Woodward Jr. gives up too soon, settling on near-misses with supernatural objects and long walks down dark hallways. At least there’s Shaye and Bell, who are remarkable in their dedication to the material, trying to make their character pain feel real.”

“Granted, The Call should be given a wee bit of credit because it semi-admirably tries something different, but it’s largely ineffective due to the schematic writing and lackluster execution, though it does score a point or two for pulling a decent whodunit unveiling at the end. Still, there’s the stalwart Tobin Bell who’s both a merit and demerit to the proceedings…” eFilmCritic

“There’s a good premise deep down inside this film, and it’s sold with some stellar actors. It just needs a little more polish to it so that it can elevate the film to a “must-see” level. That says a lot to the talent of the actors and director Timothy Woodward Jr though, as I think their work shined when other parts of the film were trying to dim it.” Flickering Myth

“Obviously, the cast of this new horror movie will draw in viewers – as it should – but the movie itself is good as well […] It won’t be a new classic, but it does offer solid entertainment and memorable characters!” Heaven of Horror

“Bell earns a lot of acclaim for his role as moderator of the game, but Lin Shaye steals quite a few scenes; she plays a terrifying character alive or dead. Even the younger cast members fit well into the genre […] The Call discusses the fears which hide in all of us and how everyone comes from one kind of tragedy, whether self-inflicted or otherwise.” Killer Horror Critic

“As implied by Shaye’s character initials, there is a propensity for an EC style romp of gory, pop-gothic payback. Problem is that when each of the group – a bunch who, up until now have been harmlessly fulfilling ’80s teen tropes such as avoiding the principal and visiting the carnival – answer the phone they are sent into their own personal hells, which are all dark AF.” The Movie Waffler

“This is two filmmakers, writer Patrick Stibbs and director Timothy Woodward Jr., coming together to make a film that reflects the very era their film is set in; and it does that perfectly. Other filmmakers could take inspiration from just how well The Call captures the 80s feel and makes use of the audiences knowledge of the genre to both play up to and subvert expectations.” Nerdly

The Call was released in drive-ins in the USA by Cinedigm on October 2nd 2020.

Cast and characters:
Lin Shaye … Edith Cranston
Tobin Bell … Edward Cranston
Chester Rushing … Chris
Erin Sanders … Tonya
Mike Manning … Zack (as Mike C. Manning)
Sloane Morgan Siegel … Brett
Judd Lormand … Harliss
Randy J. Goodwin … Principal
Brooklyn Anne Miller … Laura
Leah Contreras … Young Tonya
Toby Leeder … Young Zack
Aidan Bertola … Young Brett
Madeleine Wade … Angela
Ciara Hanna … Sarah
Fred Stoller … Gruff Man

Not to be confused with the 2019 Korean sci-fi horror thriller Call aka The Call which is currently a hit on Netflix and this website.


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