THE CALL (2020)
Korean chiller has Kim Seo-yeon (Park Shin-hye) returning to her childhood home to visit her sick mother (Kim Sung-ryung). She looses her cellphone and is forced to use an old mobile phone left at the house. Soon she is getting phone calls from a girl, Oh Young-sook (Jeon Jong-seo), who claims to live in the same house, but twenty years earlier…a girl who has been dead for two decades. Their paths having crossed in 1999, when she was a child, Kim Seo-yeon uses her connection to the past to save her father’s (Park Ho-san) life and in return, uses her knowledge in present day to save Oh Young-sook from being killed by her abusive mother (Lee El)…or so she’s been lead to believe. Oh Young-sook turns out to be deranged and homicidal and her strict, religious mother, thinking she’s possessed, killed her. Now alive and unleashed, Oh Young-sook preys on Kim Seo-yeon and her family from twenty years earlier, leaving the woman helpless as the serial killer carves a trail of bodies two decades in the past.
Film is written and well directed by Lee Chung-hyun, based on the 2011 film The Caller (reviewed HERE). Lee Chung-hyun takes the basic plot in his own direction and uses it effectively, as Kim Seo-yeon unleashes a monster and is helpless as the young psychopath starts killing people two decades earlier in 1999. People who now disappear from the present. The tension builds, as the young killer threatens Kim Seo-yeon’s family, unless the woman uses her future knowledge to help Oh Young-sook evade capture and even death. The further this “relationship” goes, the more demented the girl gets and the closer she gets to taking away the father Kim Seo-yeon has regained and the mother, who is now completely healthy. The film cleverly and effectively shows the effects of the sadistic Oh Young-sook changing the past and removing people who were still alive in Kim Seo-yeon’s present. There is some shocking and impactful violence and some solid intensity and suspense, especially in the last act. The cast is very good, with Park Shin-hye making a likable and sympathetic heroine and Jeon Jong-seo making a very good villain/serial killer. Unnecessary downer ending aside, it’s a quasi remake that improves upon a well intentioned but flawed original. Known in it’s native South Korean as simply Call, flick is currently streaming on Netflix.