The Call is a South Korean horror/thriller film written and directed by Lee Chung-hyun. The film stars Park Shin-hye and Jeon Jong-seo in lead roles.
South Korean horror/thriller movies have a way of inflicting horror in the hearts of its audiences. 2020’s The Call is a tad bit different from the films of the genre. It’s a mix of sci-fi, thriller and horror and the meshing of the stories along with the performances make this one memorable.
The Call follows two women, connected through a telephone 20 years apart, whose lives go through phenomenal changes due to their chance acquaintance.
The Call is a dizzying, gloomy ride through what I can only describe as manic fun. Okay, it’s not really fun in the traditional sense because there is a lot of blood and gore, but you get what I mean. From the moment the film starts, you know something dark is about to happen. The story is a twisty tale of two women who come across each other because of the home they share 20 years apart and a telephone. This encounter proves fruitful to Seo-yeon, but along the line, she realises she has unleashed a monster.
The monster comes in the form of Young-sook, who is, well, a psychopath. These two women are similar, but not really. And this story would’ve been just another murder mystery had The Call not decided to show us Seo-yeon’s life literally changing as Young-sook manipulates her past. The film ends on a cliff-hanger, and the way the shots change from one perspective to the other is extremely entertaining and also very frightening.
The credit has to be given to cinematographer Jo Young-jik, along with writer Lee Chung-hyun. Apart from having a tight storyline, the cinematography adds leaps and bounds to the narrative. The dark and gloomy atmosphere and sets add terror in the hearts of both Seo-yeon and us. The background score, too, is great.
I remember watching Park Shin-hye in #Alive which is one of my favourite zombie horror films. She was phenomenal then, and she’s phenomenal in The Call as well. She and Jeon Jong-seo carry the film on their shoulders, and you wouldn’t be able to look away from the screen – their presence is magnetic. Seo-yeon’s vulnerability, strength, confusion and happiness are deftly brought on-screen by Shin-hye, who never breaks character. On the other hand, Jeon Jong-seo is absolutely terrifying as the deranged Young-sook. The way she stares at people is enough to give anyone nightmares.
The Call constantly manipulates time and showcases cause and effect deftly. There’s a moment in the film where you see Seo-yeon happy, and in spite of knowing that is a thriller, you wonder if things would work out in her favour. However, it doesn’t and I have to blame that on Seo-yeon. To be honest, she makes a lot of incorrect decisions which probably doesn’t make much sense, but then again, when a crazed killer is holding your child-self hostage, I don’t know how I’d react.
Fans of gore and all things messed up, The Call delivers on its promise. The hopelessness of the situation and Seo-yeon’s wickedness go hand-in-hand with the horror. It’s absolutely mind-blowing and is, well, quite hopeless. The blood and gore all look very real, and for the most part, it is believable, the characters are fleshed out and you get hooked to it from the get-go.
Summing up: The Call
The Call, with its messed up but original storyline and presentation, creates a hopeless world where winning doesn’t seem like an option. it’s a delightful watch that will keep you thinking long after you’re done with it.
The Call is streaming on Netflix.
Liked The Call review? Read our other reviews here.