Wide World of Horror: ‘The Caller’ – to answer or not to answer the phone

The Callerthe-caller-don-t-answer-horror-s-10-most-terrifying-phone-calls
Written by Sergio Casci
Directed by Matthew Parkhill
Puerto Rico/United Kingdom, 2011

It creaks, it wobbles, but it doesn’t crack. That’s the best way to describe The Caller, a horror film that makes the most out of an interesting premise. The horror genre is not short on films with great premises, but it, much like the film world in general, is short on films that make the most out of their great premise. The Caller nearly blows it multiple times, but somehow Matthew Parkhill’s film manages to keep it all together and deliver on the promise of its premise.

Working with time travel, or time distortion as the case may be, is always a dicey proposition. It’s so easy for a film that deals with any sort of time theme to be a jumbled mess. There are a few times when The Caller comes close to losing itself in its time queries. Luckily each and every time the screenplay pulls back and focuses on the characters again and leaves the science behind. That’s the thing with a time themed movie, the science need not be the focus. Playing with time is enough, the film does not need to dig deep into the inner workings of its time travel, or distortion. The Caller never digs too deep, because I firmly believe Sergio Casci knew that if he dug too deep the film would fall apart on him.

There are some shocking moments in The Caller. Not shocking in the sense that they are gruesome, but shocking in how deftly they are handled by all involved. There’s one scene where a character is burned. It’s hard to describe the circumstances behind the burning without using spoilers. The circumstances aren’t super important though, rather it’s the way the burning manifests and how the character reacts to being burned that sells the shocking horror of that moment. The Caller makes the most of its shocking moments, and that helps to keep the atmosphere of the film tense and thick.

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Rachelle Lefevre is not a household name, but she does pretty good work in The Caller. She has an aloofness to her that makes the journey her character goes through very believable. Much of the film rests on buying Mary’s plight, and Miss Lefevre is up to the task of carrying the film on her shoulders. The same cannot be said of Stephen Moyer, who simply put lacks any charisma. He’s wooden to the extreme as John, stumbling through his lines and taking the role of a giant pimple on the face of the film. Overall the acting in the film works, Mr. Moyer is the only real downer in the bunch.

In the end sum of things The Caller is not a great horror film. It’s a pretty good one though, and it really does have a very interesting premise. Horror fans deserve more movies that make good with a great premise. The Caller is such a movie, and that’s why it’s a horror film worth taking the time to see.

-Bill Thompson

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