The Caller review

The Caller is a low budget thriller that stars Rachelle Lefevre, who Twilight fans will recognise as evil Victoria, and Stephen Moyer, handsome vampire Bill from HBO’s series True Blood. If you are a fan of the latter, this film is probably a must see (on DVD at least), for Moyer is a watchable and likeable addition to the film, although he is woefully under-utilised.

Moyer has an easy charm, even if that doesn't quite translate as chemistry with leading lady Lefevre. Lefevre does her best, but the silly plotting of The Caller works against her. The film doesn't know what it wants to be, and instead of choosing to be a reasonable thriller it hamstrings itself the whole time by dabbling in the trappings of horror.

The Caller of the title is a woman called Rose who accidentally calls Lefevre's character Mary upon arrival at her new flat – and then continues to ring when they make a 'connection'. Mary has clearly moved away from an abusive husband, and despite going through the motions of divorce and having a restraining order against him, he keeps turning up to menace her. Mary tells us that sometimes she doesn't know whether she should have left him or not, but to be honest, we only see the side of her ex which is terrifying.

Despite making friends with a friendly neighbor, Luis Guzman, and going to evening classes where she meets handsome tutor John (Moyer), Mary keeps getting nuisance calls from this mysterious and lonely woman Mary. Eventually it is established that Mary is calling her across time, and that's when things get fairly daft, leading to a scene where Moyer has to explain the plot on the back of a napkin. And thank god he does, because I am sure I can't have been the only one in the audience thinking 'huh?'

Rose seems to exert a certain amount of control over Mary, and this becomes more pressing as the story escalates and her relationship with John deepens. With the exception of one quite good idea in the way Mary deals with Rose, the film is actually mostly dull and predictable. Suffice to say, it wants a cross between The Pit and the Pendulum and Sleeping With the Enemy, but it fails to have either film's pace or focus, and so it falls between the genre cracks. In the end it becomes dull and mired in the traps of its own time-bending nonsense.

I wanted to like it more, I really did, but despite its best intentions to be gritty, it just ended up being silly.

The Caller at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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