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Simon Read [Film Festival 06.26.11] United Kingdom movie review horror thriller drama

Year: 2011
Directors: Matthew Parkhill
Writers: Sergio Casci
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by:
Rating: 7 out of 10

There's a lot of fun to be had with Matthew Parkhill's latest film, a horror/thriller centered on a woman who has just left an abusive relationship and moved into a new apartment when she starts getting mysterious phone calls which turn deadly serious. The film is a b-movie in the very best tradition, and I was surprised just how much I enjoyed it and how well it holds together over ninety minutes.

Mary (Rachelle Lefevre of Twilight fame) is in the middle of a difficult divorce from a violent husband when she moves into a slightly grotty apartment block and begins a course at night school. One evening the phone rings and a woman on the other end asks for a man called Peter, to which Mary responds that he doesn't live here. The woman insists, stating that Peter just got back from Vietnam and this is his number; "Vietnam? As in the Vietnam war?" The old woman, Rose, claims to be calling from the past, and after she proves this to Mary by altering surfaces in the apartment in her time so that they appear in Mary's, the two women begin to trade information, "Carter loses, Reagan becomes president." Etc.

Unfortunately for Mary, Rose has a few screws loose and starts to demand that they talk on the phone nightly as she's lonely all the way back in her time. Mary is patient at first but ends up simply unplugging the phone and forgetting about the whole thing, until her mobile fails on her and she has to plug it in again. Wouldn't you know it, Rose calls right away with the extremely unsettling news that, "I saw you today, with your mommy..." Mary is rightly shocked and starts to think of ways to retrospectively get rid of this woman who is taking over her life, possibly all of it.

I really enjoyed the way all of this is set-up, and how it plays out as the film unfolds. The actors play it straight and give pretty effective performances, with Lorna Raver's (Mrs. Ganush from Drag Me To Hell) vocal role sticking in the mind for a while afterwards, and Ed Quinn giving a menacing air to the ex-husband who still haunts Mary and won't accept the restraining order she's had placed on him. Lefevre is also surprisingly good here too, carrying the film well and giving Mary just the right amount of grit when she needs it, and managing to give a realistic reaction to receiving a phone call from the 70's. Luis Guzmán - who I'm beginning to think has been contractually obliged to star in every film ever made - is also good as the superintendent who gives Mary a history lesson on the building.

The idea has been done before (think 'Frequency') and often brings up continuity errors and goofs, but I think The Caller actually held together in this department very well and I was pretty impressed that the time alteration stuff didn't throw up any obvious errors.

It's not an amazing film, more of a future guilty pleasure which I look forward to sharing with friends, but check it out and I think you'll agree it's a thoroughly good example of itself.

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