Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Caller (2011)

**This review contains spoilers**

Trying to escape her abusive ex-husband, Mary (Rachelle Lefevre) moves into a new apartment. Mary develops a strange obsession with an antique phone in the apartment, and soon enough, Mary receives calls from a woman named Rose (Lorna Raver). At first, Mary enjoys Rose’s company, but Rose’s friendly calls quickly turn into a series of vicious threats.

Mary seeks help from her new neighbor George (Luis Guzman), and a teacher/friend named John (Stephen Moyer), but when Mary accuses Rose of time travel, her story becomes more difficult to believe. Steven’s (Mary’s ex-husband) defiance against the restraining takes a backseat to Mary’s major problem, when Rose starts killing off the people closest to Mary in the past. After pressuring George into giving her some answers, Mary learns the devastating truth about her apartment’s history: years ago, Rose lived in Mary’s apartment, and as the jealous and controlling wife, Rose suddenly murdered her husband one night. Mary is running out of solutions for her bizarre problem, and the situation takes a drastic turn for the worst, when Rose finds Mary as a child in the past…..

Nobody gives an outstanding or terrible performance worthy of individual recognition here, but The Caller features a capable cast overall.

You might enjoy The Caller…..if you can buy into the story, and believe me, that’s easier said than done. First of all, I had a problem with Rose locating Mary’s friends/lovers in the past. How is it possible? Except for first names, Mary didn’t reveal any crucial details (last names, address numbers, etc.). And how did Rose find Mary as a child in the past? I can understand if Mary lived in Rose’s apartment complex as a child, but she didn’t. In the past, Rose uses hot cooking oil to burn Mary as a child, and of course, the wounds appear on adult Mary’s body. Mary’s burns could’ve been the “OH MY GOD THAT WAS SICK!” gross-out moment of the film, but I couldn’t look past the plot holes for Rose finding Mary as a child.

But wait, it gets better! Towards the very end of the film, Rose is fed up with Mary’s games and lies (earlier in the film, Mary tries to trick Rose into a fatal accident during a phone conversation), so she decides to travel to the present to kill Mary, and she shows up at Mary‘s front door? Um, okay, how is this possible??? Did Mary use some kind of secret time machine? Because the story NEVER explains how Rose was able to travel through time, come to the present, and try to kill Mary. And more importantly, if Rose was capable of traveling through time from the start, then why didn’t she use time travel to kill Mary in the first place? Instead, she wastes time threatening Mary via phone calls, giving Mary a chance to come up with a strategy to kill her? That doesn’t make sense at all.

And speaking of the ending, it was kind of ridiculous. So Rose shows up to Mary’s apartment in the future. She’s trying to break through the front door, and finish Mary off once and for all. Out of panic and desperation, Mary picks up the antique phone, and she calls herself as a child in the past. In the past, Rose kidnaps Mary as a child, but the child version of Mary is the only hope for Mary in the future. Yeah, I know it’s more confusing and off the wall than it sounds. Anyway, after gaining the trust of Mary in the past, future Mary convinces child Mary to pick up a piece of broken glass, and kill Rose in the past? So now there’s two adult Roses, and somehow they’re capable of being in two time periods at once? Okay then. Child Mary eventually finds Rose in the past, and she kills her with the broken piece of glass. Rose in the future suddenly disappears, and future Mary orders child Mary to go home.

The Caller features a VERY shaky story, and if you can’t buy into it, you’ll probably hate this film, it’s just that simple. It’s annoying and baffling, but you know what, I’m not going with a negative score here. The Caller is a trainwreck from beginning to end, but I couldn’t pull myself away from this trainwreck. The Caller is a nonsensical mess, but this film was able to hold my attention, and I wanted to know what happened next. I was hooked into every dumbfounding twist and turn, and she’s not too bright, but I rooted for Mary’s survival. It’s not a unique or sophisticated suspense thriller, but I’m giving The Caller a “guilty pleasure” pass.

Final Rating: 5/10

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