The Call

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

LAPD veteran 9-1-1 operator, Jordan Turner (Halle Berry), receives an emergency call one night from a teenage girl, Leah Templeton (Evie Thompson), fearing for her life as a man breaks into her home. Jordan wisely advises her to conceal herself upstairs, but when the call is disconnected, Jordan calls Leah back which gives away Leah’s hiding spot to the intruder. Jordan attempts to stop him over the phone, to which he says “It’s already done” and hangs up, leaving her distraught. A few days later, Jordan sees a report on TV confirming Leah had been murdered. Mentally affected by the incident, Jordan tells her boyfriend, Officer Paul Phillips (Morris Chestnut), she can no longer field calls.

Six months later, she is a trainer for 9-1-1 operators. Simultaneously, teenager Casey Welson (Abigail Breslin), having spent time with her friend Autumn who had to leave, is kidnapped from a mall parking garage and put into the trunk of a car. Casey uses her friend’s phone which had been accidentally left behind to call 9-1-1. Brooke (Jenna Lamia), a rookie operator, receives the call and cannot handle it, as Jordan overhears the situation and takes over. Unfortunately, Casey is using a disposable phone, and her exact GPS location cannot be found. While the kidnapper drives, Jordan guides Casey into knocking out a tail light and signaling people in nearby cars. One woman who sees Casey waving her arm out of the trunk of the car calls 9-1-1, allowing the police to narrow their search. The man ends up killing one person and burning another who tries to intervene and switches cars with one victim, Alan Denado (Michael Imperioli), to elude the police. However, he inadvertently leaves fingerprints at the scene of the car switch, and the police are finally able to determine his identity as Michael Foster (Michael Eklund).

Upon arriving at his destination, Michael removes Casey from the trunk and finds the phone in her pocket, with 9-1-1 listening on the line. Putting the phone to his ears, Jordan informs him that his identity is uncovered and advises him to turn himself in and not hurt the girl and that he does not have to do this. Before smashing the phone, Michael responds to the latter, “It’s already done”, and Jordan realizes Michael is the same culprit who killed Leah. Meanwhile, Paul, accompanied by Officer Jake Devans (David Otunga) and others in law enforcement, raid Michael’s home to look for clues. Finding a photo of Michael and his sister, Melinda, they realize Casey resembles his sister. Additionally, the house seen in the photo is eventually revealed by Michael’s wife to have burned down, although a nearby cottage still remains. The police raid it, but find nobody there and leave. Determined to catch the killer, Jordan drives to the secondary home where she finds endless photos of Michael with his Leukemic sister. Stepping outside, she recognizes sounds from an outdoor flagpole, reminiscent to sounds heard in the background in the final moments of the 9-1-1 call. She also finds a trap door amid dirt and scrub, a spot the primary house once stood. After she accidentally drops her cellphone down the cellar, she climbs down in without calling the police.

Navigating the cellar, Jordan is forced to hide from an emerging Michael. The cellar itself pieces together Michael’s back-story. It’s revealed Michael had been distraught to the point of having obsessive, incestuous feelings towards his sister and during her high school days, she developed Leukemia, lost all of her hair and passed away. Michael has a prop head that he keeps in the cellar that he treats like his sister. He has also been scalping and killing young girls who have similar blond hair, trying to find scalps that match the mannequin. Jordan soon finds Casey strapped down to a dentist chair and attacks Michael as he begins to lacerate her. She frees Casey, and they both manage to gradually escape the cellar. Michael pursues them, and they are able to injure and kick him back down into the cellar, rendering him unconscious. While he is knocked out, they tie him up and chain him to a chair. When he regains consciousness, they tell Michael they are going to leave him to die using the cover story that Casey had escaped, Jordan found her in the woods, and Michael simply disappeared. He tells them they can’t just leave him there. As they walk out, Jordan recites his words, “It’s already done”, then closes and locks the door, leaving Michael to die, although it is left ambiguous as to whether he dies or not.

REVIEW:

It has been quite a while since I last watched a film that starred Halle Berry. As a matter of fact, I seem to remember the last couple of films of hers that I watched not being that hot. No wonder she hasn’t been around, eh? Enter The Call, a film from WWE Studios. Yes, I said WWE. No worries, though, there is no wrestling and the only wrestler is David Otunga, who has a pretty small role.

What is this about?

When an abducted teenage girl makes a frantic call from the trunk of a serial killer’s speeding car, she connects with a sympathetic 911 operator who’s dealt with the perpetrator in the past.

What did I like?

911. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really think about what those 911 operators go through, especially if a call goes wrong. The first segment of this film covers just that, as we see Berry go from being on top of her game to having a call that leaves her visibly shaken. She is so shaken that she leaves her position at the call center. Fast forward 6 months and she is now the training officer for newbies. Man, these 911 operators go through a lot, huh?

Intense. Wow! What more can I say that the way the plot plays out is sure to blow your mind! With a film like this, you half expect to see what is coming, but the factors that come into play with the antagonist are not only a bit uncomfortable, but also quite scary if you think along the lines that there may actually be people out there like this guy.

Ending. It wasn’t planned, but a friend of mine from college also watched this film tonight, possibly at the same time, and we had a slight discussion about the ending. The best thing I can say about it, without divulging crucial details, is that it is totally unexpected. It is the kind of ending that you expect from a film of this nature. Kudos to the filmmakers for taking the chance with it!

What didn’t I like?

Jailbait. It seems like just yesterday Abigail Breslin was the little girl stealing our hearts in Little Miss Sunshine. Now she’s in a thriller with her bra on. I’m not sure of how old she is, but it just felt wrong seeing her décolletage on full display. The time will come when this won’t matter, but for now they should’ve known better, especially since there really was no reason for the  kidnapper to cut her shirt off, at least as far as I could tell.

Think. In the final scenes of the film, Berry leaves the call center to chase after Breslin. I don’t really understand why, especially since she has perfectly capable cop boyfriend. Best I can figure is they wanted to justify casting Halle Berry by giving her something to do. That makes no sense, though, because she was doing such a good job just with her reactions to the calls and such.

Belief. For some reason, everyone seems to believe that the kidnapper is the same guy that killed the girl from 6 months ago. Why? Berry told them so. I can only imagine that this was done to keep the films short and for convenience. Given her mental ties to that case, I find it hard to believe that everyone would have believed her so easily, not to mention there was a lack of investigation.

The Call was quite entertaining, Not only did it deliver a fairly slid thriller story, it was pretty fast paced and, most importantly, had the ungodly gorgeous Halle Berry. The film does have issues, but they aren’t the kind that you cannot get over, unlike Berry’s hairstyle. Do I recommend this? Yes, it isn’t the best film, but it is worth a viewing or two. Check it out!

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

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One Response to “The Call”

  1. […] Call center. The way the call centers handle the call from a guy who is trapped underground with little oxygen and a dying cell phone is just a shame. I’m sorry, but there should be protocols for such things. I know that they are supposed to stay calm and keep the caller calm as well, but at some point you need to realize the urgency of the situation, or deal with that person’s death on your conscience, sort of like Halle Berry’s character did when she caused a girl to be murdered in The Call. […]

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