The Call has plenty of strong names attached to it. Producer Jeffrey Reddick created the Final Destination franchise while stars Lin Shaye and Tobin Belle are familiar faces to horror fans. The movie is about four friends forced to call a suspected witch. The catch? She is buried in a casket. Even worse, someone answers.
There have been a rash of horror movies to take place in previous decades. This one takes place in 1987. As is par for the course, the fashions and styles scream “1980s!”, but the date has little relevance other than a contrivance to get around modern technology.
Casting horror veterans is a wise idea. Shaye and Belle are the highlights of The Call. Shaye’s Edith is driven to suicide by the four young friends after an evidence-less rumor mongering campaign. Her husband Edward (Belle) lives with the heartache.
The rest of the cast do a serviceable job, but pale in comparison. This may be more a fault of the writing. The younger characters are not given the emotional depth of Edith and Edward. It does not help that the punishment and crime do not always go well together.
The Call is a pseudo anthology/haunted house story. The premise is a deliciously goofy one that works if you do not think too hard about it. The challenge aspect has its moments but tend to get repetitive. The concept never fully plays out and ends up being more disappointing than anything else.
Horror movies have a bad habit of not delivering on a great premise. Sometimes, they are able to get away with it thanks to great acting or by being so over the top the plot does not matter. The Call has a pair of great performances from Lin Shaye and Tobin Belle, but there is little else of note.
The Call comes to Shudder July 15
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