The Call Movie Review: A top thriller
Time-travel thrillers aren't exactly new but what sets The Call apart is how it breaks the code of the genre and alters some unwritten rules
The past cannot be altered. It is what it is. But what if you could alter it? How can you tinker with past experiences whilst making sure that the positive qualities of the present don't get affected? What would be the potential repercussions of giving it a shot? That's the story of Netflix's latest Korean acquisition, The Call.
Based on the 2011 Puerto Rican film, The Caller, The Call revolves around Seo-yeon (Park Shin-hye) and Young-sook (Jeon Jong-seo), two women from different timelines who connect through a phone call. Held captive and tormented by her shaman stepmother (Lee El), Young-sook's only window to the real world becomes Park Shin-hye who uses her new friend from the past to rewrite her own history. When Park Shin-hye finds out that her phone-pal will get killed by her stepmother, she cautions Young-sook, thereby altering the present. What follows is bloodshed -- quite literally -- that transforms the lives of these two women forever.
Cast: Park Shin-hye, Jeon Jong-seo, Kim Sung-ryung, Lee El
Direction: Lee Chung-hyun
Streaming on: Netflix
Time-travel thrillers aren't exactly new but what sets The Call apart is how it breaks the code of the genre and alters some unwritten rules. Director Lee Chung-hyun, who makes his feature film debut with this film, builds a world that's both familiar and foreign to us which makes the end product both intriguing and chilling. While we are used to time-travel tropes like how a single minor change in the timeline causes a ripple effect, The Call demonstrates this in a visually stunning manner, while also giving us a peek into Korea's tradition of how it deals with exorcism.
The story wears its female-centric quality effortlessly. Even the secondary cast is fuelled by girl power. I enjoyed Park Shin-hye's performance as an innocent girl, which is in complete contrast to her role in the recently released #Alive in which she plays a zombie apocalypse survivor. Jeon Jong-seo as Young-sook is the real star of this film and her descent into madness is brilliantly portrayed and hardly betrays the fact that this is only her second film. The opportunities the script gives the lead characters to play both victim and instigator adds a lot of flair to the film.
Despite loopholes, such as a failure to explain how the phone call between the two ladies is possible in the first place, the film manages to have you at the edge of your seat for the majority of its 112-minute runtime. With eerie visuals, dark undertones, a stunning story and exceptional performances to tie them all up, The Call is a feast for fans of the thriller genre.