Hello, horror lovers! Welcome to another edition of Underrated Horror Movie of the Month. If you are new here, welcome! Let me quickly explain. Twice every month, on the second and fourth Friday, I talk about a horror movie I feel is underrated and underloved. Horror movies, like all media, are subjective, but some deserve more love than they get. In this edition, I am talking about the 2020 film The Call.

About The Call

Not to be confused with the 2013 movie of the same name starring Halle Berry or the 2020 Netflix original, The Call is a little-known horror gem. It’s set in the late 80s and focuses on a group of teens who cross the “town witch,” Edith Cranston (Lin Shaye).

The teens torment Edith regularly for no other reason than they suspect she is a witch. Eventually, the constant torture becomes too much, and Edith takes her own life. Shortly after the tragedy, Edward (Tobin Bell), Edith’s husband, invites the teens to participate in a little game.

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After arriving at the Cranston’s home, the group of friends is presented with an unimaginable test. If they pass, they get a large sum of money. The question is, can they stay on the phone with a dead person for a full minute?

Old looking rotary phone

The Call also stars Chester Rushing, Erin Sanders, Mike Manning and Sloan Morgan Siegel. Timothy Woodward Jr. directed and Patrick Stibbs wrote the screenplay.

This film has a 46 percent Tomatometer score and a 69 percent Audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Fun fact: This film is from the creators of Final Destination.

My Thoughts

Even though The Call is two years old, I only recently discovered it thanks to a random search on Shudder. I often like to look for new and obscure horror movies. On my latest quest, this film was one of the first things that popped up. Seeing Tobin Bell’s name and the blurb about it being from the creators of Final Destination, I had to try it.

The first thing to note is that it’s set in the late 80s, but other than the lack of smartphones, vehicle styles and fashion choices, it is unnoticeable and does not play into the story. If it weren’t in the description, I’m not sure I would have taken note of the period, but maybe I’m just old and thought it was modern-day.

Young Man laying in bed, talking on the phone.

All four young actors did a commendable job, but Bell and Shaye were the real stars. Shaye’s distraught performance gave depth and substance to the character and the story. Bell’s righteous anger and menacing presence lent terror to the atmosphere.

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I am the first to admit the premise is a bit odd, but it is much more complex. Each one of the teens is sucked into their hell and must face terrible things if they want to survive. The question then turns into, what happens if they do survive? Will they get the prize they were promised or something far more unpleasant?

While I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, I have one major complaint: it is too dark in 95 percent of the shots. It is often difficult to see what is happening.

Final Thoughts

While this is not the most in-depth story, I recommend giving it a chance. It has some incredibly creepy moments and a fantastic atmosphere. The Call may not become your new favorite movie, but it will undoubtedly be one you talk about from time to time.

There you have it, horrorphiles, another underrated horror movie in the books, and many more to come! Be sure to come back next month for a new round of underrated films. Before you go, check out the trailer for The Call below and leave your thoughts in the comments. Also, let me know which movie you think I should feature next.

Until next time, stay spooky!

This article was originally published in June 2022. 

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