Any chance that "The Call" had of earning a label of 'not as bad as it looked' gets yanked away when it decides to go completely stupid in the last two minutes. Granted, it's not a great movie up until this point, but at least it's watchable and the filmmakers get a little bit of credit. But after the ridiculous ending it becomes impossible to let it off the hook for any of its flaws.
"The Call" reminds this reviewer of another mediocre chiller that was released in the last twelve months: "House at the End of the Street." The two suffer from the same issues, in that they have no idea how to build any sort of suspense or create real scares. Instead, the movie just delivers a creepy feeling of unease. "The Call" does this quite often as well, especially when it features such a young actress playing the victim(Abigail Breslin just turned 16 last year). It's especially icky when the camera jumps to extreme close-ups of Breslin's face, which it does quite often. Otherwise, the camera jumps around consistently during the violent sequences. The cinematography is downright sloppy, and there should be no excuse for the director. The guy calling the shots is Brad Anderson, the director of such films as "Session 9" and "The Machinist", which starred an ultra-thin Christian Bale. Perhaps all those years directing television have clouded Anderson's director's eye.
Breslin is young and has a long career ahead of her, but it's hard to wrap a finger around why Halle Berry would star in something like this. Mostly her role just requires her to look wide-eyed while wearing a headset. There's no doubt her career has lost a couple steps recently, but here she is as the first-billed in a WWE Studios movie? No offense to the studio, but they haven't exactly proven they can play with the big boys by delivering any quality releases since their inception. Berry certainly doesn't phone it in(pun intended?), but her presence in a flick like this feels a little desperate.
"The Call" will draw an audience, but the fact that it is rated R will hurt it considerably at the box office. Berry might draw in an older crowd, but this should be a film aimed at the teenage demographic. Anybody older than that will probably find themselves bored, especially with the fact that the trailer spoils everything about the movie. When there are no surprises, what is left to be scared of? Perhaps the cheesy writing? When one of the characters has a last name of Welson, it's hard not to smirk a little.