THE CALL UP
released 23 May 2016 | TBC | DVD
Director Charles Barker Cast Max Deacon, Morfydd Clark, Ali Cook, Tom Benedict- Knight
If you know your Star Trek: The Next Generation, then all we need to say is this is a “holodeck goes wrong” story dragged out to monotonous length. If you don’t know Next Gen, you’ll still probably recognise this as an extremely schematic “VR computer game starts killing its players” story without any interesting twists.
Eight gamers – six men, two women – are invited to test a cutting- edge combat game, donning body armour and VR helmets and shooting their way down the floors of a high- rise building. Naturally they find the digital terrorists they’re fighting are jolly realistic. Equally naturally, they learn the game is harsh on losers and that there are no save or quit buttons.
It’s the SF equivalent of a pre- Scream slasher film, where the formula is pretty much the whole of the film. The characters have no interesting dynamics, and the functional tower- block setting reminds you of umpteen more vital action films. Gamers will find the tone patronising ( players have no friends; combat games bring out our worst impulses). It’s a film which cries out for the sardonic bite of Black Mirror – surely Charlie Brooker could have fun with this scenario – or the invention of Wreck- It Ralph.
Extras None. Andrew Osmond
Much of the film was shot on a single floor of a Birmingham tower block, which was re- dressed multiple times.
Susan looked at her four speed- dates and sighed sadly.