Surprisingly, the film kept me interested for most of its 94 minute running time. While it does mimic 2004's Cellular in many ways, it is just different enough not to claim foul.
Jordan (Halle Berry, who is looking as good as ever and never freaking ages!) is a 9-1-1 operator at "the hive", the central operating and dispatching area of the LAPD.
One evening she gets a call from Leah, a young teen in distress who claims a man is breaking into her home. Using her seasoned experience in the field, Jordan seemingly helps the girl by telling her to open her bedroom window to make it look like she escaped while instead hiding under the bed.
As she instructs a new group of recruits to the hive, a call comes in from a girl who has been kidnapped from a mall and is being held in the trunk of a moving vehicle. The operator talking her down is young and inexperienced, unable to collect her thoughts enough to help. It is then when Jordan takes over, and the meat of the storyline comes to fruition.
This young girl, Casey (Abigail Breslin), is lucky enough to have a trac phone. She was hanging with a friend at the mall and the friend had been using the phone because it is untraceable and she was hiding a relationship with a boy from her mother. The girl hurries off, leaving the phone in Casey's possession. (Which naturally is one of those "of course" moments in a film that we all dread. How convenient!) Casey's kidnapper disposes of Casey's iPhone in two seconds, not realizing the other phone is in her pocket.
Once Jordan gets over the initial shock that they are dealing with the same perpetrator, her mind set is focused on one thing: not losing another life to this psychotic bastard.
In my books, this is a massive fail. I know it is "just a movie" and we are supposed to suspend our disbelief, but really? What 9-1-1 operator do you know that would risk life and limb for a voice on the phone, in particular after the cops' lead fell through? Yeah, well....it's only a movie.
I don't want to give anything else away, so suffice it to say the end of the film certainly reminds one of a little film starring Anthony Hopkins as a serial killer... you know the one?
But would it just fall into the same category as every other dark police procedural? What would help it stand above? I can't answer that either, hence that is probably where thoughts of a series abruptly ended.
But in the end, The Call was pretty effective, with convincing acting all around and enough blood shed to keep your average horror fan entertained. If you can get past some of the truly implausible script blunders, you're in for a moderately exciting hour and a half.
And you get Halle Berry, right?