The Horror Honeys: The Call is Coming from Outside the Decade

The Call is Coming from Outside the Decade

A Revenge Honey Review

The Caller (2011)

The menacing, unknown voice at the other end of the telephone; in the days before caller ID, there weren’t many things more terrifying. Movies like When a Stranger Calls and Black Christmas affectively exploited the hell out of this fear with the “the call is coming from inside the house” trope that is still scaring the crap out of babysitters to this day. But what would happen if that menacing call was coming from a different decade and the batshit crazy caller had the ability to alter both your past AND your future? That is the premise of Matthew Parkhill’s The Caller, a film that surprised me by being both scary as shit and also one of the best revenge films I’ve seen in ages.

In The Caller, Mary Kee (Rachelle Lafevre, an über-talented actress lucky enough to shake loose the Twilight monster) is forced to move into a run-down apartment building after her divorce from her abusive/psychotic/sociopathic ex-husband Steven. Shortly after she moves in, she begins receiving persistent phone calls from Rose, a middle-aged woman looking for her husband. The calls become increasingly desperate and despite Mary’s insistence that no one else lives there, Rose keeps calling back. When Mary makes the mistake of giving Rose some relationship advice, she finds herself entangled in Rose’s life in a way that makes it impossible for her to shake her loose. But this isn’t just some strange spin on Fatal Attraction: no, friends. This is like a Twilight Zone episode from hell.

Normally, there is little that annoys me more than unanswered metaphysical questions about how it is possible for two people to do something impossible, like converse by rotary telephone with someone in 1979. But in the case of The Caller, I was so caught up in the tension and escalating terror of Mary and Rose’s twisted game of cat and mouse that I didn’t even care. Every time that Mary makes the mistake of ignoring her, Rose finds a new fucked up way to insert herself into Mary’s childhood, thus completely altering her future. Whether or not you believe in time travel or magic telephones, you can’t help but feel that the perverse symbiosis is realistic in a way that will stick with you long after the movie is over.

What I loved most about The Caller is that it is almost Hitchcockian in its’ style. There are so many red herrings and McGuffins that you never entirely know what is coming next, and that makes the tension almost unbearable. Every scene that Mary shares with her slimy ex (played by Ed Quinn, dripping with psycho) made me so terrified, Parkhill had me convinced that the end was going to lie in Steven having murdered Mary and thus rendering me annoyed by a third act, “it was all a dream” twist. But luckily, The Caller deserves a comparison to Hitchcock’s style by never going for the easy out. 

“But Revenge Honey, where the fuck is the revenge?” you may ask. Well, my darlings, The Caller revenges all the hell over the place! To get to deep into the details of how revenge factors into this brilliant little film is to give away key pieces of plot, and I know how some of you spoiler snobs get, so I won’t be that person. But let me just say that the end of this film was so satisfying; it made my little Revenge Honey heart skip a beat.

The supporting cast of The Caller is also surprisingly awesome. I won’t pretend that I don’t watch True Blood, but I have never been what you’d call impressed with Stephen Moyer’s acting skills. However, in The Caller, as a professor who acts as Mary’s knight in shining armor, Moyer is handsome, kind, and more than a little dreamy. It’s the first time that I’ve ever seen what all the “Bill Compton” fuss was about. Additionally, Luis Guzmán is perfectly cast as one of Mary’s neighbors with information about Rose that could either help or hurt them both.

The truth is, I went into this movie with no expectations and was absolutely blown away. The Caller is smart, strange, tense, terrifying, and 100% Revenge Honey approved. 

Revenge Honey Stabby Points: 5 out of 5