The Call is a high concept thriller based around 9-1-1 operator Jordan Tuner (Halle Berry). One night, Jordan gets a 9-1-1 call from a girl who says there is a man in her house. After indirectly causing her capture, Jordan blames herself for her abduction and gives up her job on the floor after the girl is found dead. Six months later, Jordan is a teacher, showing the new recruits the ropes of being an emergency operator. However, when a less experienced worker gets a call from a distraught girl, she doesn’t know how to handle it and hands it over to Jordan, who finds that this girl, Casey (Abigail Breslin), is under very similar circumstances as the call six months ago. Determined not to mess up this time, Jordan attempts to help Casey escape from her captor.
Now, while The Call is far from original, borrowing elements from Buried, Taken, and The Taking of Pelham 123, it’s actually a surprisingly fun and tense thriller. It wears it’s concept well and it doesn’t cop out with making the villain seem threatening, with him murdering several people over the course of the film is shockingly gruesome ways. It’s nice to see a thriller which doesn’t limit itself with a 12A rating, and the violence comes in short bursts infrequently, which makes it all the more shocking and horrific. Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin both turn in great performances, and Berry seems to be every so slightly breaking out of her ‘good actress in bad films’ reputation. The villain is the one slight downside to the movie, with him seeming really over the top crazy, and his constant twitching and jolting don’t make him very threatening.
All of this is fine, but like many films, The Call falls completely apart at the one hour mark. I won’t spoil what happens, but let’s just say that one of the characters does something so monumentally stupid that it wrenches you out of the story and destroys all tension. The ending is a standard, boring, slasher movie style chase through dark halls, and it’s dull and unoriginal. It’s a massive shame, because the rest of the film was really surprising and was a lot of fun. But half an hour before the end it just goes completely bonkers and never goes back.
So despite the fact that two thirds of the film is great, the last act just nosedives the film into disappointing territory. It’s not nearly as boring or uninteresting as WWE Films’ previous offering, Dead Man Down, but all the same it’s merely good with conditions where it could have been great.