Jordan (Halle Berry) is a 911 Call Operator. After receiving a call that results in the death of a teenage girl, she vows to stick to a training role to minimise her impact on people. Six months later, she is showing new recruits the ropes when a call comes in from Casey (Abigail Breslin), a teenager who has just been abducted from the mall.
What follows is an hour and a half of thrilling, edge-of-your-seat drama. I attended the screening with a friend, and we spent most of the film either covering our faces or grabbing each other’s arms. There’s no other way to put it: the film was traumatic.
With Casey stuck in the boot of a car, frantically trying to get help from an untraceable phone, it’s obvious that a happy ending isn’t going to be easy to come by. As the body count starts rising, hope seems to disappear. But it’s what happens after they get out of the car that left me shaking.
If it was a simple kidnap/murder story, I could cope. I’ve seen enough episodes of Law and Order SVU to be able to deal with things like that. But in the murderer’s bunker, what is found in a room almost made me vomit. I don’t want to spoil the horror for you, just in case you decide you’re brave enough to go and see the film yourself, but it thoroughly put the word psycho into psychopath.
The ending of the film is abrupt, and leaves many questions, but also has a sense of completion. I was still trying to get over the horrific revelations of the final half hour, and so the sudden rolling of the credits left me reeling. The general attitude as the lights came up and we exited the cinema was one of literal horror – not the kind that includes demons and things that go bump in the night (although the trailer for The Conjuring which aired before the film certainly satisfies those requirements) – but the kind that what we had just seen could happen to any of us.
The Call was deeply frightening in its realism. The fact that kidnapping has recently been in the news (albeit, in a story with a relieved outcome) made its story hit so much closer to home. As a young woman who frequently is by herself, I was left eerily shaken by what I had seen. Although I have been trained in martial arts, and know general safety rules, at the end of the day, being in the wrong place at the wrong time could happen to any of us.
While the acting was not brilliant, and many of the situations silly cliches (like, did she really just go into that basement alone without telling anyone where she is? REALLY?!), the film is definitely one that will stay for you long after you leave the cinema. If you have a stronger heart (and stomach – trust me on that one) than me, I’d definitely recommend checking it out. If, however, you get scared easily, or have enough to worry about without being scared that you’ll be shoved in the boot of a car, maybe give this one a miss.
The Call is out in Australian cinemas through Roadshow Films on Thursday 16th of May
frangipani princess xoxo