Netflix had a rather successful 2020 with a number of hit TV series, exciting blockbusters, and even some potential award season candidates that are ambiguously pushing the envelope within the film industry.
However, there is some predictability with the Hollywood movies often pumped out by the streaming giant and they can typically overshadow international original films made with a fraction of the budget and twice as much imagination.
Hidden among the hundreds of mainstream titles, a South Korean indie film named ‘The Call’ is beginning to get major word of mouth attention, near-perfect critic reviews, and I’m here to tell you all the accolades are beyond deserved as this is a must-watch that will shake you to your core.
Usually, this is where I advise readers to prepare themselves mentally before diving in, but in all honesty, nothing can quite get you ready for this shockwave of mind-altering madness that may make you never want to answer your phone again.
The Call (2020)
Currently, a lot of major film studios are taking it upon themselves to give us an endless stream of spin-offs for their existing intellectual properties for the next couple of years, which is setting up an endless stream of superheroes and villains duking it out for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, South Korean filmmakers are gracing us with weird original films that are dark, gritty, daring, and unimaginably cool, which is a blessing for any fans of those types of movies.
Okay, now you may be saying that the basic premise of a protagonist getting a phone call from somebody living years in the past isn’t that original, but the overall delivery from director Chung-Hyun Lee is unlike anything I have ever seen.
Chung-Hyun’s sophomore film is as shocking as it is beautifully shot, with stunning CGI that is perfectly placed while also sparingly used giving the entire experience a more grounded science-fiction feel.
Based on the trailer, you can easily believe you have some sort of idea where this film will go, yet when the story slowly starts to unravel it becomes a killer look at the dangers of altering the past and the misadventures of playing with fate, both of which collide in such unexpected mind-fuck.
Try to picture merging everything great about the films ‘Looper‘, ‘Butterfly Effect’, and ‘Frequency’ then completely taking it another level in the thriller genre by adding in twists that seem to constantly come at you right up until the final credits.
The final credits line isn’t a hyperbolic statement, make sure you do not turn off the movie when the names begin to appear or you’ll miss the true ending which is a lasting blow of epic proportion.
As with all of the new generation of breakout Korean projects that are sweeping the indie film world, this is another one that is carried by a cast that gives A-listers a serious run for their money.
Newcomer Jeon Jong-seo and rising star Park Shin-hye’s pure adrenaline-pumping performances are a white-knuckle ride that predominately/amazingly takes place with them never actually being in the same room.
Relatbably, Jong-seo and Shin-hye’s individual portrayals of tormented characters isolated by chaotic circumstances do also make for the perfectly timed movie during another round of quarantines.
After watching this movie the sheer sound of a telephone ringing will probably make your heart skip a beat and the high stakes story doesn’t give you even a quarter of a second to mentally catch up before delivering another blow.
You can expect to be on the edge of your seat from start to finish and again, because I can’t stress it enough, stay for the mid-credit scene to get the true ending of the film.
One final note, avoid all spoilers online and give this film every last bit of your attention, trust me, you won’t want to miss a single line of dialogue or frame on screen.