Written and Directed by Lee Chung-hyun
Based on The Caller by Matthew Parkhill
Starring Park Shin-hye, Jeon Jong-seo
Kim Seo-yeon (Park) goes home to visit her ailing mother. Her childhood home is rundown, just like her life, which became so upon the death of her father nearly two decades prior. Having left her cell phone, she takes an old phone out in the home and calls it. After she talks to the people who picked up the phone, she gets a strange phone call. After a few more calls, she determines that the caller is Oh Young-sook (Jeon) a prior resident of their home, calling from 20 years prior, when she still lived there.
The two strike up a relationship. Sharing tidbits of their times. Eventually, they do favors for one another in clever ways. These favors have a profound effect on the lives of those they know. The assistance for one of the two ends up being a deadly mistake, that could cost the other everything.
The Call has the benefit of a decent story that has been tested before in a 2011 film. Lee’s style is stark, with good attention to detail in the changes of the house through varying states. There are small digital flashes here and there, but most of the effects center on the acting of the two leads. Park and Jeon do an excellent job of shifting the emotional landscape.
Towards the end of the third act, the premise starts to wear thin. The changes in one time cease to correspond directly to changes in another. By the time we get to the mid-credits nothing makes sense beyond the idea that they’re setting up another film. If they can recapture the story in this film, maybe they have something.
That is a lot to hope for.
(**** out of *****)