Halle Berry phones in a thriller
Director Brad Anderson’s new film, The Call, stars Halle Berry as a Los Angeles 9-1-1 dispatcher and Abigail Breslin as a teenage kidnap victim whose call for help reaches Berry.
Veteran 9-1-1 operator Jordan Turner (Berry) takes a teenage girl’s call for help from Leah Templeton (Evie Thompson), who is reporting a break in when she’s home alone. Turner counsels Templeton to hide in her bedroom while waiting more than 10 minutes for police to arrive. Templeton hides under her bed after making it look like she jumped off a balcony to escape. As the intruder is leaving, the call is disconnected and Turner calls back, leading the intruder (Michael Eklund) to his victim. As Turner tells him not to hurt the girl, he says “It’s already done” and hangs up. The girl is later found naked and buried in a shallow grave.
Serial killer strikes again
Blaming herself for the girl’s death, Turner moves off the switchboard and becomes a trainer. Six months later, while showing new hires “the hive” communications room, a new operator takes a call from another girl who was abducted and is in the trunk of a car.
When the probie can’t handle the call, Turner takes over helping to calm Casey Welson (Breslin), get a description of the car and her abductor, and helping her to leave clues for police like kicking out the taillight and waving so other drivers would call 9-1-1 to pouring paint that was in the trunk out the taillight opening to leave a trail for police. At one point, a limo driver Michael Imperiolli (from The Sopranos) notices the paint and tells the kidnapper. When Michael Foster (Eklund) pulls over to check on Welson, Imperiolli follows and attempts to call police, only to end up in the trunk too after being hit over the head with a shovel. When Imperiolli’s character wakes up, Foster pulls over, opens the trunk and stabs him to death with a screwdriver.
Clues help identify kidnapper’s identity
The whole time, Turner has been listening over Welson’s disposable cell phone. The pre-paid phone hampers efforts to trace the call’s location. When Foster has to get gas, Welson crawls into the car through the fold-down back seat and gets the attention of the attendant, who Foster also kills. When Foster pulls Welson back into the trunk, he discovers the cell phone and speaks with Turner, who tells him they know his identity and asks him not to hurt Welson. “It’s already done,” he tells her, and she knows he is the first teen’s killer too.
As police lead by Officer Paul Phillips (Morris Chestnut), who is also Turner’s boyfriend, search for the girl first at Foster’s house then at his grandmother’s former house in the hills where the last call came from, Turner listens to the call recording over and over, focusing on a noise in the background. Turner then goes to the grandmother’s when she finds the source of the sound and an old bomb shelter or root cellar where Foster is holding Welson.
How many heels does it get?
The movie will have you on the edge of your seat, rooting for Berry’s character. There are some predictable moments, but more suspenseful twists and turns. The reason behind the kidnappings is a bit macabre as is what Foster does to his victims and why. In the screening I attended, the audience would gasp during appropriate scenes and yell encouragement and advice to both Turner and Welson. In the end, it got a round of applause. Rated R. Opens March 15, 2013.
My rating: 5 heels
Article by DC on Heels Entertainment Editor Mark Heckathorn