If you suspend your sense of logic for a while, you will enjoy watching the 2020 Korean thriller ‘The Call’, which is about two women finding themselves connected over the phone, even though they live in different eras. Another twist – they live in the same house.
Directed by Lee Chung-hyun, ‘The Call’ is a gripping tale of a serial killer and a hapless victim from the future. Seo Yun (Park Shin-hye) lives in the present day Korea and finds herself on a call with Yong-sook (Jeon Jong-seo) who is dialing from the 1990s. While Yong-sook doesn’t believe Seo Yun at first, the latter gives her proof by reading out a tragedy that is scheduled to take place in her timeline (by looking up the internet of-course). Convinced, the two begin tampering with the past, with dangerous results.
The two ladies in the lead are the absolute heart of this film, while Jeon Jong-seo is great as an unsuspecting victim, Park Shin-hye is deliciously evil as Yong-sook. She is not your average serial-killer, she is impulsive to the point of being stupid, but she has a great asset on her side – a contact from the future to help her evade law and keep up the blood-lust. Actor Lee El as Yong-sook’s mother looks every bit the witch/shaman she is made out to be. It’s a power-packed women led-film.
Stylishly edited, with gothic tones, grunge-y Japanese rock music from the 90s is blended brilliantly throughout the course of the story. The juxtaposition of the cassette player era versus the social media modern day makes for fun viewing. The contrast between the two leading characters is also intriguing, one is a stone-cold mentally sick murderer, while the other one is an emotional daddy’s little girl. Although Seo Yun’s character matures in a short period of time and isn’t one dimensional as it seems in the beginning.
There are no moral lessons to take away from the story, except for maybe – don’t talk to strangers, claim to be calling from the past. The writers take a lot of fictional liberties, which sort of makes the Korean cops look like half-wit fools. The flitting between the past and the present is cleverly done, with some chilling twists in between. The pacing is done very well, and so much is happening on the screen all the time that viewers will find themselves invested in the plot till the end.
For most part, it’s a satisfactory watch, however, towards the end, the makers get ahead of themselves and make a major timeline blunder, which absolutely makes NO sense. It’s like those little twists one usually gets to see in the last few seconds of horror movies, and was completely unnecessary in this film. So the super-dumb climactic twist is maddening, but if you deduct that from the story, ‘The Call’ is a gripping one time watch.
It’s a 7/10 from me.
Where to watch: Netflix
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