It is rare that I get to view a random horror film that is actually quite good but that is the case with the horror thriller The Caller (2011). It came across my desk with a DVD cover that was nothing special or of particular interest and the premise wasn’t exactly all that original and so I thought I would be just watching another Black Christmas (1974 & 2006), without the holiday cheer, or When a Stranger Calls (1979). What I got was a supernatural version of Frequency (2000) which was well done and entertaining and suspenseful.
Mary Kee (Rachelle Lefevre) has just gone through a troubled divorce with an obsessive husband and has decided to make a complete new start somewhere else. She rents a little apartment where one of her neighbors George (played by the always entertaining Luis Guzman) is extremely helpful at making her feel welcomed. Then Mary starts receiving these strange calls from an old woman looking for someone that used to leave in Mary’s place. At first she thinks that although persistent the old woman is harmless and humors her but when she discovers that the old woman may have killed her husband in that very same apartment Mary gets scared and tries to absolve the conversations with the woman. But this old woman will not go away quietly as she has the uncanny ability to alter Mary’s apartment, which leads Mary to the discovery that the old woman is from the past and that for some unknown reason she and the old woman have made a connection in which the old woman can alter the future and destroy Mary if Mary refuses to be the old woman’s friend.
Now Mary must play a game of cat and mouse with an old woman with the power to alter her future and she can do nothing about it.
What could have been a simple stalk and slash film becomes a tense psychological thrill ride as you realize that Mary is helpless to the terror of a psychopathic old woman with the means to destroy Mary’s future should she step out of line. Written by Sergio Caso this is a particularly effective film that may take a few beats to get to the heart of the relationship between Mary and the old woman but it is all paid forward. Director Matthew Parkhill and actress Lefevre should also be credited for his great direction and her command of the material and performance. The film is almost exclusively carried by her performance and Parkhill’s ability to create suspense in the minutest of detail and scene.
Don’t let the title The Caller fool you, this is a great film that should note go overlooked.