Written by / 3/17/2013 / No comments / , , ,

THE CALL

year: 2013 cast: Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin, Michael Eklund rating: ***
Despite the bland, uninteresting title, THE CALL is a worthwhile thriller centering on the people who sit behind a desk and listen to some pretty intense emergency situations that don’t always end happily.

Enter Halle Berry’s Jordan Turner, a dedicated and experienced 911 operator, who gets a call from a young girl stalked inside her home by a shadowy menace. As things turn out, Turner makes a mistake that results in tragedy. So when the next emergency arises, she’s both ready and cautious: That being teenager Casey, played by Abigail Breslin, who's kidnapped inside an indoor parking lot and is, by the time she reaches 911, stuck inside the trunk of a moving car.

Berry turns in a worthwhile performance for someone seeing very little action. She hears everything that goes on with Breslin’s frantic character, put through the ringer in a claustrophobic trunk, and with Turner’s help she figures out ways to – as the vehicle cruises along without being successfully located – provide distress signals for people on the outside.

There are several unlucky witnesses, including a businessman who has a suspicion that things aren’t exactly normal, and we’re treated to a few horror flick-style slaughters, readymade for audiences to leap from their seats. Here’s where Berry’s input lessens and Breslin, with her life in deeper jeopardy, has to figure how to possibly escape on her own, or else.

When we finally lose touch with home base, and the killer’s backstory starts to unravel, the problem-solving thriller turns into an imitation of PSYCHO and especially SILENCE OF THE LAMBS as Turner (ala Vera Miles and/or Jodie Foster) investigates a spooky rural compound.

There are effective chills in this third act, but the best stuff occurs out on that road, when both main characters, the victim and her protector, are given equal importance.
Abigail Breslin works real hard in THE CALL
CYPRESS, CA., this reviewer's current location, is visible under Halle's bottom lip
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