Review: "The Call" (2020)


Think of this as “Il Mare / The Lake House” where instead of love birds being phone pals across time, we get frenemies where one happens to be a psycho killer. “The Call” brings an interesting premise to the time-crossed phone call concept, where changes in the past can still catch on a slowly evolving alternate future. It’s “Your Name” with a demented twist on the hands of director Lee Chung-hyun.

We see a great dynamic between Korea’s superstar actress Park Shin-hye (Kim Seo-yeon) and rising actress Jeon Jong-seo (Oh Young-sook), whose only film credit before “The Call” is the critically acclaimed film, “Burning”. Park, being a Hallyu princess, takes care of the drama, playing brilliantly the oblivious victim in 2019, who like most of her contemporaries in the age of social media, could easily tell everything to a stranger. Jong-seo, on the other hand, leaves a deep impression with her superb acting as the mentally disturbed villain in 1999.

“The Call” is an entertaining suspense-thriller that has bits of both the supernatural and science fiction. There is a scene that plays homage to Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” which can delight suspense thriller fans.

However, in this time when the world is starting to be aware of mental health, it is off-putting to have another villain whose excuse to be evil is because she is sick. A part of me thinks those Arkham-Asylum types of antagonists should remain in the past.

The true ending of “The Call”, placed mid-credits, is unsettling. But that’s how suspense thrillers work. Add the seemingly never-ending twists, “The Call” delivered remarkably well.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

The Call is now streaming on Netflix.