Set in a Los Angeles 911 emergency call centre, The Call stars Halle Berry as a 911 operative who receives a terrified call from a teenage girl about a man braking into her house. The call is cut off and Jordan (Berry) makes the terrible mistake of redialling, alerting the killer of the girl’s location in the process. She quits the desk job, but a call (via an untraceable phone) from another teenage girl in peril places Jordan back into the hot seat.
The Call certainly stars off well with a tense opening act and genuine emotional engagement as Jordan’s torment at being partially reasonable for the death of the teenage girl plays on her mind, severally affecting her ability to perform such a stressful job. The film then quickly moves on six months as Jordan becomes a teacher to the newbies, but is once again thrust into the hot seat when Casey Welson (Abigail Breslin) is kidnapped. Director Brad Anderson brilliantly sustains tension throughout the first two acts, but, like many thrillers, when the film reaches its final act it becomes a standard thriller of the likes of Kiss the Girls and co. Elements of The Silence of Lambs are also evident as the film’s conclusion looks like The Silence of Lambs combined with some aspects of Eyes Without a Face. The ending itself is woefully misjudged and widely out of place, but the assured and effective performances from Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin make The Call an effective thriller for the majority of its running time. The Call is a film that paints women more positively (the main female character are presented as resilient and resourceful) than the typical offering we often seen in such generic thrillers.