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3.5 out of 5 stars
The Caller
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2011
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Compliments:
First, to the phone - an ancient black rotary menace. Nice job creepy phone!
Second, at times endearing; at times disturbing; at times threatening phone voice created by Lorna Raver.
Third, to the claustrophobic apartment setting; subdued lighting, shadows and colors; use of sound and environment such as rain to enhance tension.
Fourth, to the actors for their casual naturalistic acting e.g. pauses, conversational dialogue, nuanced everyday behaviors, facial expressions. In particular Lefevre, who was tossed into the role at the last moment and might be well served to use that method for future roles, looked very comfortable. She is a talent that is being wasted in TV spots.

Brief storyline:
Mary moves into an apartment in about 2010 that was inhabited by Rose in 1979. Rose calls Mary from around 1979 which becomes obsessively more frequent. They both acknowledge that their connection is happening for a reason. Both Rose and Mary have issues with males close to them and just in general. "Men don't change ever!" Then Mary suggests to Rose, while thinking of solving her own problems, to "just get rid of him." At this point you see that Rose instantly alters the future by changing the past and more than once.

Spoiler (read when confused after watching the film):
The rotary phone in Puerto Rico in the 70s would not be unusual. Using a phone as a vehicle for the past to communicate with the present is common in film. The phone was shown, in deleted scenes, being found in a box in the pantry coincidentally it was a phone cord used by Rose to hang herself. Rose lived close to where Mary (as a child) lived so she is able to threaten Mary (as a child) as well as people close to her. Rose kills her boyfriend Bobby and Mary's friends George and John (but when John was a boy). Thus the future changes and memories of each from the moment of death ceases. Rose wraps them all in the same old burlap and rope tucking them into the pantry while building a brick wall to hide the evidence. Rose eventually becomes upset with older Mary and takes it out on young Mary by spilling hot cooking oil consequently we see the burn marks instantly appear on the older Mary. Mary, in response, tries to get Rose to kill herself and in failing to do so Rose gets even more upset and tries to kill the visiting young Mary. The young Mary protects herself by breaking a wardrobe mirror and uses the broken glass to disable Rose. In 2010 we see the the now broken wardrobe mirror as well as a now appearing scar in Mary's palm where she held the glass. Both the young and old Mary are trying to protect themselves from Rose at the same time. As for Mary's ex (Steven) who several times threatens (e.g. Wedding photo with "Till death do us part." written on the back as well as stalking) she eventually says, "Last chance Steven." and to which he says, "Yeah. Or what?" which is why Mary's dispatching and tucking him into the newly re-bricked pantry along with the others fits into the story. She not only is re-enacting Rose but is singing her Shafto "broken heart" song at the end.

Problems:
Most of the ages and times just don't match up e.g. the gravestone used for the missing young John appears to say 1924. Rose was in her 40s in the '70s and appears not to have aged and still moves like she in her 40s. Rose did not die when she hung herself according to deleted scenes which changes the story considerably such as how can she be calling from the 70s while also in the present where she again attempts to kill the now older Mary. Without seeing the deleted scenes we have Rose in two separate time periods at once. What do the previous occupants (Mr. Mrs. Alvarez) of Mary's apartment have to do with the story. The alternate ending of a refurbished apartment with ringing phone makes no sense. The reason for the two scenes with blood on her finger is not clear. The subway and dream scenes just add confusion. Generally too many holes from poorly developed backgrounds; in tidying up loose ends and editing made the movie more confusing than it should be.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2011
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
This is a great suspense thriller. Rather than relying upon gore, zombies and lots of blood, this film combines wonderful character development, a creative plot and good acting to create a nice film. The movie has an intriguing story line and a crazy ending. Do not listen to the bad reviews. I am sure those viewers wanted to see people get slashed throughout the film. This does not happen. Instead, enjoying this film requires something that is seriously lacking among today's movie viewers and writers: IMAGINATION!
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2011
Format: Amazon Instant Video
This reminds me of the old Hitchcock stuff. Mary divorces Steve and moves into an apartment. Steve is of questionable character. Mary gets calls from Rose asking for Bobby. Rose claims she lives in the 1970's. At first she thinks a friend of Steve's is behind this. Her and Rose become semi-friends. Weird things start to happen. Whatever changes Rose makes to the pantry in the 1970's materializes in the present day. This really spokes out Mary. Steven violates his restraining order and Mary gets help from her French teacher. Upon doing some research she discovers a Rose really did live there. Is this supernatural or an elaborate hoax?

The film hooks you from the first phone call. You can't wait for the phone to ring. Then at some point, you don't want the phone to ring. But it does...
Excellent writing. Excellent film. Good intensity.

F-bomb,brief sex scene, no nudity
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2012
Format: DVD
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I had no idea what to expect when I began watching it on Netflix Instant, however I was immediately intrigued. I am a fan of sci-fi and the general "twilight zone" themes, so I found this movie incredibly entertaining. To the people who are saying how awful the cinematography was - It's supposed to have a dingier, darker atmosphere to fit with the tone of the movie, which is creepy! I didn't have a problem with it at all. I really liked the story, even though it was creepy and weird. I felt like the storyline was different than a lot of horror movies now a days, being more sci fi and psychological in a sense. It's kind of a thriller, honestly, because it is very "edge of the seat." The acting was well done. Nothing phenomenal, but it was believable, and I found myself rooting for the main character which usually means they are doing a good job with the role. I didn't have a clue to how it would end, and I was satisfied. The ending is definitely one that I would describe as poetic irony. Overall, it kept me entertained, and again being a sci-fi fan, I thought the parallel universe theme was really cool.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
The premise is interesting - a modern-day woman receives a phone call from someone who says that they are alive in the past (1970's). Sounds cool, right? Well, what follows is not. This movie was slow-moving, boring, and predictable. It starts with the classic strange entity makes contact in an odd, yet non-threatening way. Entity gets creepy. Person tries to break contact. Entity doesn't like this and plays rough. Person pushes back. Entity reveals true malevolent self. Person is backed into a corner and makes a desperate play to win it all. We've seen this storyline a million times already (and done much better). Adding a domineering and abusive ex-husband as a second creepy entity did nothing for the film. Stick to the main storyline. My suggestion is that if there is bad weather and cable, satellite, and streaming are not available, and you can't rent a video somewhere, consider watching this. Better yet, call someone instead. Your phone conversation will be better than the dialogue in this movie.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: Amazon Instant Video
This reminds me of the old Hitchcock stuff. Mary (Rachelle Lefevre) divorces Steve(Ed Quinn) and moves into an apartment. Steve is of questionable character. Mary gets calls from Rose (Lorna Raver) asking for Bobby. Rose claims she lives in the 1970's. At first she thinks a friend of Steve's is behind this. Her and Rose become semi-friends. Weird things start to happen. Whatever changes Rose makes to the pantry in the 1970's materializes in the present day. This really spokes out Mary. Steven violates his restraining order and Mary gets help from her French teacher. Upon doing some research she discovers a Rose really did live there. Is this supernatural or an elaborate hoax?

The film hooks you from the first phone call. You can't wait for the phone to ring. Then at some point, you don't want the phone to ring. But it does...
Excellent writing. Excellent film. Good intensity.

Parental Guide: F-bomb,brief sex scene, no nudity
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
THE CALLER is about a woman named Mary Kee (Rachelle Lefevre), who has just moved into a run-down apartment. She is in the middle of a bitter divorce from her uber-macho, violent husband. She has no chance to get settled into her new digs before a strange phone call starts her down a path of dark mystery and murderous events. Mary finds herself in the midst of a nightmarish, time / space anomaly. This movie plays like a superb, extra-long episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE, w/ some modern, more disturbing twists thrown in. Stephen Moyer (RESTRAINT, THE BARRENS, OPEN HOUSE, TV's TRUE BLOOD) is great as Mary's hapless love interest. Luis Guzman plays a gardener who knows important secrets about Mary's predicament. If you enjoy horror built on suspense and bizarre situations, then you should watch THE CALLER right now!...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2012
Format: DVD
The Caller is a horror film that follows Mary Kee as she settles into an apartment after divorcing her husband; soon, she began to receive calls from Rose, a woman that claims to be calling from the past.

The phone calls in this film are the best part; Rose's voice and actions are chilling, even if you don't see her throughout the film. You know she is an unstable character just by the sound of her voice, which is an accomplishment. But, the movie also focuses on Mary and her divorce. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but the cheap, repetitive jump scares that accompany this part of the story are ineffective and poorly explained. Is she haunted by Rose or her ex-husband? I won't spoil the film but her husband appears multiple times and, most of the time, he is a hallucination. Also, I say the jump scares are cheap and ineffective because they're completely random and basically pointless; they may jolt you for a moment, but you'll quickly shrug them off. Basically, the phone calls were scarier than the jump scares. The ending was ok, I had mixed feelings about it. The acting was decent, and the pacing was fast.

The Caller is a decent time-killer; the concept and the phone calls were scary, the jump-scares and divorce side-story were not. As of 10/20/12, this film is available on Netflix Streaming, I recommend renting or dreaming before purchasing.

The Caller has violence and blood, and nudity and sex.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2012
Format: DVD
This is sort of a time slip movie where it appears two parallel universes are overlapping.

Here's the scoop. Mary moves into an apartment to get away from her soon to be ex-husband. She starts getting threatening calls from a gal called Rose who might be running on a different calendar. She seems to be tuned in around the Viet Nam war. She meets a new guy. He seems nice. Talks with the building's janitor. He seems nice. But do they really exist? And Rose keeps calling as creepy things start to happen. Now Rose is trying to kill her but not her the adult. Her the child.

This is messy. I was interested to begin with, but as the facets of the story started to come together it began to annoy me. I didn't think it hung together. I suppose I have to compare it to the movie "Triangle." But there you see the different, overlapping worlds. Here, the other world only exists on the other end of the phone. What if Mary saw herself in danger as a child instead of just hearing her? And, though maybe I missed it, what does Mary's abusive husband have to do with anything? Is he just there to pose an immediate threat? And then there are the old photos with the creepy, indistinct, images of Rose in the background. That's getting tired.

It was shot and cut OK. The perfromances were decent enough. The sound design was overwrought. There is a problem with any soundtrack that makes itself that noticeable.

I can't say this hurt to watch, but I wouldn't put it at the top of my viewing list.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
THE CALLER is one of those films wherein we the viewer is left to make their own conclusions on what we just watched. Frankly, I've grown weary of this trend. I watch movies mainly to be entertained, not to play cinema ivestigator. Give me the clues, involve me in the mystery, but don't expect me to finish the writer's job.
THE CALLER posits time distortion at one point and then suggests a haunted phone, child abuse, ghosts, attempted murder, bodies behind walls. Not to mention the time shifts that never make sense. That's the movie's downfall--it doesn't make sense. Add the hideous lighting and lack of sustainable tension, you get one frustrating film!
Rachelle Lefevre (TWILIGHT), Stephen Moyer (TRUE BLOOD), Ed Quinn (BEHEMOTH) and Lorna Raver (DRAG ME TO HELL) all try hard, but can't overcome the disjointed screenplay.
THE CALLER is just an enigmatic misfire.
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