Movie Review: “The Call” – Let This One Ring

Written by Jesse Gelinas March 25, 2013

Halle Berry in "The Call"911, what is your emergency?

It’s March. This is the blech time of year.  Awards season is over, the summer blockbusters are waiting in the wings, and we’re left with the dreck that doesn’t truly belong anywhere. “The Call” is the latest Halle Berry vehicle attempting to revitalize her floundering career. Honestly, a girl gives one half decent performance in a Billy Bob Thorton sex tape, delivers a ridiculous acceptance speech at the Oscars, and now it’s like we’re just obligated to accept her continuing to act. Hollywood is a funny place.

Halle Berry stars as 911 operator Jordan Turner. Jordan is good at her job and she knows it. However, after making a fatal (read as basic logic being thrown out the window by one considering herself a professional) mistake that leads to a tragic murder, Jordan just can’t handle the calls anymore and moves to an instructing position. But the same killer returns, out to capture a new victim, and Jordan is given a chance to redeem herself and save the day with her exceptional communication skills. It’s kind of like “Hostage”, but without the awesomeness, or the Willis. Actually, it’s kind of like “Cellular” but worse. No, it’s… well, it’s just kind of bad.

Please hold…

This movie had some decent potential. It had a semi-cool plot with a simple gimmick going for it. But we’ve seen the whole situation play out before, right down to the letter. She’s a hotshot, she fails, people die, she regresses. Exact same situation arises again, she steps up, and gets a chance to save the day by completely abandoning her post and going full out “Death Wish 4” on the killer’s ass. Truth be told, the film built up some pretty good suspense in its first half. Abigail Breslin is a great young actress, and you’re just terrified for her. But everything falls apart when the plot goes from passable to ridiculous at the drop of a hat.

Abigail Breslin in "The Call"

Halle Berry is the weak link here. Her acting is not what it used to be, and it wasn’t ever that great. She crashes through each scene like a wrecking ball, chewing up the scenery and getting that emotional, teary-eyed Berry look in her face- you know the one I mean. The woman hasn’t been trying since she won her Oscar, and she hasn’t done anything worthwhile since “Gothika”. This movie has no drive. It’s biggest problem is that the writers just stopped trying after a while. The entire third act is just mindless shock value. What is to be gained by tacking on a shitty ending? Nothing but angry viewers.

 Hello? Hellooooo?

“The Call” just isn’t worth the effort to see, or to bitch about. There’s been worse thrillers, and there’s been worse that still had better endings. Halle Berry adds nothing and actually detracts from a decent setup. We’re stuck with her for at least one more “X-Men” flick, but after that perhaps she’ll finally fade away. We’ll have to see. For the time being, just keep your head down and pretend you don’t see her. Maybe she’ll go away.

My Rating: 5/10

Theatrical poster for "The Call"

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About Jesse Gelinas

After years attempting to escape the Matrix, Jesse has accepted his fate as a writer and Senior Editor. Now that's he finished with his film degree, it gives him something to do while waiting for the machines to get careless.

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