Make ‘The Call’, you’ll be really glad you did

Halle Berry as "Jordan" in 'The Call'
Halle Berry as “Jordan” in ‘The Call’

Originally titled The Hive, The Call is the story of an emergency services dispatcher who makes a decision that she believes led to the death of a young woman and how she copes with it when a similar situation takes place later on.

“Jordan Turner” (Berry) is an experienced dispatcher who is considered to be good at her job.  She dates a LAPD cop “Paul Phillips” (Chestnut) and seems to handle the high-stress level of her job fairly well.  Until the fateful day she takes a call from a young woman who is home alone when a man breaks in.  The connection is broken after Jordan has told the woman to hide under the bed, and she hits “re-dial” to get her back on the line.  The man hears the phone ringing and it being answered promptly just as he was about to leave.  He turns around, finds the girl and out of the audience’s view, kills her.

Six months later, Jordan is no longer working the dispatch console.  Instead she’s training newly hired dispatchers and taking them on a tour of the “Hive”.  One of her former trainees has “Casey Welson” (Breslin) on the line and isn’t able to handle the situation.  She’s calling on a “burn phone” which can’t be easily traced.   Jordan takes over the call and things start happening.  It turns out that Casey is in the trunk of a car being driven by the man who kidnapped her from the parking structure of a mall.  She is very scared and panicking.

A terrified Abigail Breslin in a scene from 'The Call'
A terrified Abigail Breslin in a scene from ‘The Call’

The search is on.  Officer Phillips and his partner “Jake” (Otunga) seem to be anywhere and everywhere as things happen.  The shot from the trailer where Casey pushes out the taillight of the car is paid off, and eventually the kidnapper is forced to switch vehicles.  Eventually his identity is uncovered, but no one has any idea where he is taking Casey.

Most of what happens in this film is derivative of other films; Cellular in particular, and the influence of other movies can be seen.  It is also fairly predictable.  The presence of the same two patrol officers all over the entire Southern California area requires serious suspension of disbelief.  But that’s all forgetabble because director Brad Anderson manages to inject a surprisingly strong amount of tension into The Call.  For almost the entire film, the audience is held firmly in the film’s grip, wondering when the predictable will take place.  This predictability isn’t helped by too much of some of the key shots involving people other than Casey having been revealed in the film’s trailer.  The resolution is surprising and the one unexpected thing in this thriller.  Berry and Breslin are both very good in this, as is Roma Maffia in her role as Jordan’s supervising dispatcher in the Hive.

You will want to make The Call.

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