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The Call

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Halle Berry offers up the muscle in WWE Films’ latest release, a non Wrestler-headlined thriller that rejigs the old Play Misty for Me/Talk Radio template and interlaces it with the kind of heavy-volumed teen-friendly thrill sequences most of the successful popcorn thrillers embody.

Halle Berry, in one of her better parts in a while (her career really dipped after that Oscar Win, ay!?), plays the 911 operator who takes a call from a teenage girl (an all-grown-up Abigail Breslin, of ”Little Miss Sunshine” fame), who claims she’s been abducted and has been plonked in the boot of a moving vehicle. Having failed someone in a similar situation before, ‘Jordan’ is determined to do all she can to help this caller.

The film opens with a tense sequence involving Jordan talking a young girl through an appropriately character-changing event. The girl’s house has been broken into, while she’s still inside, and she’s hiding it out in the cupboard until the stranger leaves – as you do. Unfortunately, Jordan messes up and calls the girl’s phone back after a drop-out, unintentionally alerting the man – a killer! – to the girl’s hiding spot. We know how that one ends.

Sometime later Jordan finds herself back in the same position, only this time the young girl in jeopardy is stuck in the killer’s (yes, seems it’s the same guy) boot. She’s only armed with a phone, but that’s enough to keep Jordan determined not to get a disconnection signal this time around.

With the passionate operator’s assistance, kidnapped Casey (Breslin) does all she can to draw attention to herself – not easy to do when your driver is hurling down a busy freeway, and you’re stuck in a shut-tight trunk. But with some quick-thinking, Jordan and Casey slowly start to come up with ways to alert the other drivers around the car (though a couple that do stop the car and inquire what’s going on in the boot – you’d be asking too if you saw a girl’s hand waving about from a hole in the rear end of a car – help momentarily, the kidnapper isn’t afraid to do away with anyone that gets in his way. Not idea) which slowly helps them pinpoint it’s coordinates.

Richard D’Ovidio’s script – not that we should expect much from the guy that gave us such cinematic gems as Steven Seagal’s ”Exit Wounds” and Matthew Lillard masterpiece ”Thirteen Ghosts” – doesn’t feature anything in the way of newness, but what it does do is entertain. It helps that there’s a strong anchoring turn by Berry, whose ably supported by the likes of the abovementioned Breslin, Morris Chestnut and – in a rather thankless part – ”Sopranos” alum Michael Imperiolii, and that ”Machinist” director Brad Anderson (in other words, no ‘hack’) is helming, but the libretto enough encompasses enough captivating moments outside of the talented cast and crew.

Extras: Commentary with Berry, Breslin and the filmmakers is worth a listen to, but the featurette isn’t worth your time.

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About Caffeinated Clint

The writer/publicist/producer who wears the editor hat on Moviehole. Favorite films include "Say Anything...", "The Hunt for Red October", "Jerry Maguire", "Almost Famous", "Die Hard", "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", "Young Guns", "American Psycho", "Back to the Future" and the "Star Wars" series.
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