The Call

I saw a trailer for The Call a few weeks ago and it looked fantastic; when an early screening was offered, I was excited to see it. About two-thirds of it is an "at the edge of your seat" thriller, and the last third is a bit more gruesome than I would have thought. The entire movie is very fast-paced as well - one of my major pet peeves with movies is when they are slow - and will keep you interested throughout its runtime.

Jordan Turner (Halle Berry) is a 911 operator, and is great at her job. She works in "The Hive" with the rest of the operators, gets along with her coworkers, and most of her calls are routine. One day, however, a girl calls in saying there's an intruder in her house. When Jordan is talking to her, the girl says that the intruder is leaving, but then hangs up; when Jordan calls her back, the intruder hears the ringtone cut short (the phone being picked up) and runs back upstairs to grab the girl. The next day, the girl is found dead in a field, and Jordan permanently changes jobs, to be a 911 training officer; the whole situation shook her up more than she would care to admit, and she knows it's her fault that the girl was murdered.

Six months later, Jordan is training a new crop of 911 operators. When she brings them down to see "The Hive," one of her coworkers gets a call that she doesn't know how to handle; another girl (Abigail Breslin) has been abducted, this time from the mall, and is stuck in the trunk of a car. Jordan's coworker isn't calm enough to talk to the girl, and so Jordan takes over, only to realize that the abductor is the same one who kidnapped and later murdered the same girl on Jordan's call six months ago.

I'm not sure I even checked my watch at all during this movie, because it flew by so fast. It reminded me a little of The Taking of Pelham 123 (the remake from a few years ago), except instead of an operator talking to a criminal, we have an operator talking to a young girl. There's a few side plots - Jordan has a relationship with a cop (Morris Chestnut), who also works with 911 to find and apprehend criminals - but the main focus is on Jordan and Casey's (Breslin's) relationship and how Jordan is trying to get her home safely.

Yes, see this movie. I thought it would be more like the TV show Criminal Minds and it was, but in the last two-thirds of the movie, it became more of a horror film than I was expecting. The audience groaned a few times when characters did stupid things, too - when Jordan's shift is over, she drives to the old cabin where the police were thinking Casey would be, even though they already checked it - which is more indicative of a horror movie than suspense. The abductor in this movie, too (Michael Eklund), was very, very creepy, even though he was a "family man" with a wife and two kids, and his performance combined with Berry's and Breslin's makes this movie definitely worth watching.

The Call is in theaters today and is rated R with an approximate runtime of 100 minutes. 4 stars out of 5.

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