THE CALL is a new Netflix horror-thriller from South Korea. It has a plot with sci-fi elements in the form of time-travel. Or rather, communicating with the past to change the current future – you need to really pay attention to keep up. Read our full The Call movie review here!
THE CALL is a new Netflix movie from South Korea. This genre-hybrid (which is known simply as Call on IMDb) covers horror, thriller, and sci-fi. There’s an element of communicating with the past – as seen in Frequency and the South Korean series Signal – which makes for lots of plot twists.
You might like: Our review of the Netflix series Signal here >
It’s a real mind-bender in many ways, but it does hold up. Especially since this is a sci-fi story and the movie consistently stays true to the rules and consequences it sets up early on.
Continue reading our The Call movie review below and check it out on Netflix.
Two very strong leads
The plot of The Call is carried almost entirely by two characters. Obviously, there are quite a lot of supporting characters as well and they do play big parts. Still, the entire plot and development of the story come from just two characters.
These two characters are Seo-yeon and Young-sook. The story begins once these two discover that they can communicate across a 20-year time-gap using a landline phone in the same house. It’s a very simple plot, but one that involves torture, superstition, murder, and wanting desperately to change events of the past.
Seo-yeon is the character living in the present, so she’s the one we’re following throughout the story. Seo-yeon is portrayed by Park Shin-hye who does an equally impressive job but she has a bit less to work with compared to Jun Jong-seo. You might recognize Park Shin-hye from the South Korean Netflix zombie movie #Alive (2020).
Recommended reading: Our review of the zombie movie #Alive out on Netflix now >
Young-sook is the one living in 1999, so she’s in the past and is living under very dire circumstances. Young-sook is portrayed brilliantly (you’ll see!) by Jun Jong-seo, who you might recognize from the South Korean movie Burning (2018) co-starring The Walking Dead‘s Steven Yeun. If you haven’t watched that movie, I would highly recommend that you check it out.
The ending of The Call on Netflix – minor spoilers and comments on plot holes
Let me be the first to say that I actually loved the ending of The Call on Netflix. At first, I did wonder if it was full of plot holes, but the more I think about it, the more I have to acknowledge that it isn’t. In many ways, it handles this element in the same manner that The Butterfly Effect did.
As always, when talking about time travel or communicating with the past, we are dealing with a work of science fiction. Or, to put it plainly, there are no rules but those the author makes. Nothing is “real” or “possible” when related to the world we know. But that does not mean there are plot holes.
If you like this movie, you should also enjoy: The Spanish thriller Mirage on Netflix >
Still, when working with science fiction, you do have to create some boundaries and guidelines. And you need to stick to those. Something I actually think The Call does manage to do. Despite making me wonder along the way if maybe it didn’t. To me, the ending of The Call worked remarkably well and offers the quality we’ve come to expect from South Korean productions.
Without doing huge spoilers for The Call here, I just want to leave you with this thought; We witness two timelines that are twenty years apart. These two timelines run parallel with one another. Because one is the past, any changes that happen in the past will of course change the future. However, the past isn’t changed until information from the future enables this change.
Do check out The Call on Netflix
Lee Chung-hyun is the writer and director of this new horror-thriller and sci-fi hybrid. According to IMDb, this is the first feature film for Lee Chung-hyun. However, IMDb tends to be lacking lots of information when it comes to Asian productions, so I don’t know that this is accurate. In either case, this is a damn strong feature film with a solid runtime of 112 minutes.
Personally, I loved how the present was changed again and again to fit in with the changes that happened in the past. With the two timelines running parallel, any changes to the past influence the future in a strange sort of real-time. Also, the way in which the present changes is shown in a rather gorgeous way. Very simple and both uplifting and heartbreaking as the story progresses.
Finally, you have to stick around for the end credits. The story continues into the end credits and doesn’t actually end until during this time which is yet another cruel twist in the tale. Mostly because you will miss this if you don’t continue to pay attention. If you enjoy horror-thrillers with time-warps and serial killers, then The Call is definitely a movie for you!
The Call is out on Netflix from November 27, 2020.
Director: Chung-Hyun Lee
Writer: Chung-Hyun Lee
Stars: Jong-seo Jun, Sung-Ryung Kim, Dong-hwi Lee, El Lee, Jeong-se Oh, Ho-San Park, Park Shin-Hye
A woman returns to her former home and finds an old phone that allows her to speak with someone living in the same house 20 years ago.