When a movie set for a March release date begins its marketing campaign two months before it hits theaters, you know that's not a good sign. However, I still had some hopes. The trailers look intriguing so I thought why not? What a mistake. When the words WWE studios flashed across the screen I realized what a fool I was and that I pretty much flushed $12 down the toilet (where this movie should have gone). Nothing against WWE, but they're not really known for putting out movies with great story lines or well-developed characters. The Call is a prime example.
I guess it would be unfair to label this as a complete crapfest because things start off with a bang and then fizzles once we reach the climax. The story is simple; Jordan Turner (Halle Berry) is a 911 operator who one day gets a call from a girl who is home alone. Someone is trying to break in. With the help of Halle Berry, the girl manages to fool the perpetrator and right when we think she's about to be safe, the line between her and berry disconnects. In a bone-headed mistake Berry calls back, giving away the girl. The girl ends up getting taken and is found the next day naked and buried in an undisclosed location. Fast forward 6 months later and we get to the central story. We see Berry is no longer behind the desk and is instead an instructor. However it's not long before we see Berry being sucked back into the same position she was 6 months ago when someone gets a call from a girl, Casey Weslon (Abigail Breslin). She's just been kidnapped and is currently in the trunk of a car. Through the guidance of Berry, they try to find ways for her to escape and then the movie starts to collapse as we reach the climax.
It's sad to see a movie start off promising, only to break one of Berry's rules (never make a promise you can't keep) by being hugely let down during the last thirty minutes. Even before the climax though, the movie faces a lot of issues. First, is the relationship between Berry and Breslin, it feels artificial. I suppose this is (obviously) because their time on the phone together is limited, but there's never really a click between the two. It also doesn't help that their characters are hardly ever developed, they're about as one dimensional as they come.
I was surprised to see how much Abigail Breslin has grown up. Her vocal work in Rango was great but, the last time I actually saw her was in Zombieland. Boy, what a change. I adored her as a child actor but, I sincerely hope this was just a misstep and that she won't be starring in anymore movies like these. Amongst all the actors in this movie, she annoyed me the most with her unconvincing whining. It was also creepy to see her treated as a sex object in the last thirty minutes since she's pretty much running around topless with only her bra on. Meanwhile, Berry gets to keep her shirt on. Just goes to show how messed up Hollywood (or WWE in this case) is. Berry's performance is serviceable. It's not bad but, she gets the job done I suppose. Michael Eklund gives a chilling performance and his character is at least somewhat fleshed out. He has an interesting backstory but, it's never fully explored. The rest of the cast spits out their lines, picks up their paychecks, and leave.
This would have been a typical thriller had it not been for the last thirty minutes, which makes this movie go from mediocre to just bad. For whatever reason, the writers decided that Berry behind the computers wasn't enough. Instead they decided she should go play detective and try to find Breslin herself. Not once while she's out trying to locate Breslin, does it even look like the idea of calling back up crosses her mind. She's now Ms. Sherlock Holmes all of the sudden. Even when she finds the hidden place (yes! she finds Breslin... what??), the reason they give her for going down by herself and not calling the cops is because she "accidentally" drops her phone down there and can't get any service (that's right you heard me). Then her character becomes a complete idiot, you know the killer always gets up. Why would you turn your back on him while he's down? The movie continues to spiral out of control until the end credits finally begin to roll.
I guess I've been a bit harsh. There are some things I liked but, they're not enough to justify the existence of this movie or why you should even bother seeing this movie. Despite the bumps along the way, the director does manage to build some suspense and tension. There are clever scenes like Breslin kicking out the taillight and waving her arm to get someone's attention. Also, I've never seen a 911 call center before but, I can believe it looks something like the one presented here.
Overall, this is just another movie to add to the rapidly growing list of bad movies that have come out thus far. Sure, there are some suspenseful and clever scenes, and Michael Eklund gives a creepy performance. Also, the filmmakers did a nice job creating a believable and realistic looking call center. However, everything else about the movie is trash. It's not worth anyone's time or money, if you're still interested in this movie I suggest waiting for it when it comes out on DVD and renting it. Other than that, this is one call you don't want to answer.
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