If you are a female and go a lot of places by yourself, The Call is going to leave a lasting impression. Although the film is not completely realistic, so much of the terror in the film could actually happen and will leave you helpless on the edge of your seat. However, it also has several major downfalls. There is poor cinematography, there is a major flaw in what police would look for in a case like this, and the ending is downright stupid.
The reason this movie is definitely worth a watch is because of the sheer panic the film was able to induce. From the very beginning some of the 911 calls are chilling, and it is possibly because the operators are so unfazed by the gruesome details on the other end of the call like it is a common occurrence. Then the abductions start happening. You have to hand it to the writers, they do creepily accurate depictions of how actual home invasions happen. They also give you a heartbreaking glimpse into what must go on in the victims' minds. It is also well done in the sense that, although there is violence, there is hardly any gore and the attacks are not shown fully. That being said, you still feel like you have seen everything and you sit in agony wanting them to catch the perpetrator and rescue all the girls.
One of the film flaws you see in the movie, besides the unnecessary romantic storyline that half-heartedly add in, is the in-your-face cinematography. For most of the movie, the film work is fine. Unfortunately, when they get to a section where they feel there needs to be added drama, the cinematographer does extreme close-ups and they are shown in slightly slower-motion than the rest of the scene. Once the major victim in the film, Casey (Abigail Spencer) gets abducted, these kind of shots happen more and more frequently. It would probably be a stronger film if these kinds of shots were left out, leaving one continuous feel throughout the film.
There is one annoying flaw in the police and dispatcher work in the film. Without giving too much away (because who doesn't hate spoilers?), the LAPD completely overlooks an important piece of background information on the person they are chasing. After finishing the film, you know this is because they wanted to hold off for a dramatic reveal later. However, it does not make any sense because the featured detective Paul (Morris Chesnut) sees a clue to that big reveal earlier in the movie and then they do not mention that he saw it again. He knows he sees it, and he does not mention it to anyone. Halle Berry's character also alludes to this big secret, but then does not look further into it. With all of the research and the obsession she has with helping this case, why wouldn't she pursue that further? It is hard to explain without going into detail, but you will see how unrealistic it is that no one looked into it earlier than it is shown.
It is awful when movies with such great potential end on a sour note. In this case, the last 15 minutes of the film is far-fetched, but the last two minutes of the film are laughable. Seriously. During this very serious thriller, the entire audience broke out into laughter. It was not because a character made a joke. It was because what was happening was so unrealistic that it was funny. It then became a cheesy, poorly concluded story. The writers clearly wanted a catchphrase for the film, which they try to sneak in at the end. The last line is the worst part of the film. It leaves you laughing at the film, rather than being horrified.
The thrill of true panic is what makes The Call special. It will evoke something in the audience members that will make them scared to walk to their cars alone at night. The writing is creepy and will leave you with goosebumps from being uneasy about situations portrayed in it. That fear carries the movie though, as the rest of it is riddled with poor direction and an ending that lessens the movie immensely. If you want a scare, it is worth a watch. Just pretend the last few minutes do not exist and you will be set.