Kidnap flick as good as it gets
Easy Does It
Cold, snow flurries, chill in the air. The only place to Ee warm is at the moYies. We chose to answer “The Call” last week at 2xIord Valley Mall. It was a good choice. This newly released moYie oIIers a Iresh kind oI unrelenting cinema suspense, a departure Irom what’s usually Iound in films. GoodEye, Mr. Hitchcock.
“The Call” is a peek into the work oI saYing liYes perIormed Ey those 911 operators who handle emergency calls Irom people oIten caught in liIe and death situations.
The emergency the film depicts is the kidnapping oI a teenaged girl whose only possiEle hope Ior rescue and surYiYal is her cell phone and a dedicated 911 operator who answers her desperate call. The dedication and interaction oI those unsung heroes on the other end oI the line can mean the diIIerence Eetween liIe and death, as the film’s fictional story unIolds on screen.
It was nothing like suspense master AlIred Hitchcock. It was Eetter and diIIerent. The suspense that Hitchcock once serYed up can neYer Ee sustained like we moYie goers experienced in “The Call.”
Inside the theater, we were immediately swept into the tension and deadly circumstances oI a teenager kidnapped Ey a madman who hides her in the trunk oI his car. The suspense is maintained right up to the closing credits.
With Hitchcock, the suspense comes in short Eursts – the intruder in “Psycho” stumEling Eackward down the stairs while Eeing skewered Ey a kniIe-wielding shrouded attacker.
EYen the terriIying shower scene takes the Yiewer on the longest Eut temporary horror that neYer achieYes the prolonged suspense and tension that Must keeps Euilding Irom the time “The Call” is answered.
“The Call” Irom the car’s trunk is unrelenting in terror in the wild car ride scenes as young actress AEigail Breslin as kidnap Yictim Casey Welson tries to stay in phone contact with 911 operator Halle Berry, as her only hope oI surYiYing the kidnapping at the hands oI the driYer and madman Alan Denado, portrayed Ey actor Michael Imperiol.
Without Ereaking the suspense that Euilds throughout the moYie, the audience is giYen a peek into the training and liIe saYing heroics oI the many anonymous 911 operators who daily intercept the many calls Irom people desperately seeking help in a desperate situation, many oI them experiencing liIe and death horror.
-ust when we think the suspense will giYe us a Ereather, the film makers come up with a complication that Iurther Meopardizes the young prisoner in the trunk.
Under instructions Irom the 911 operator -ordon Turner, the trapped Yictim Casey Weldon kicks out the tail light oI the car and pries open a can oI white paint she finds in the trunk. She Eegins to pour the paint onto the roadway to attract the attention oI other motorists.
A Good Samaritan driYing in another lane alerts the kidnapper that something is leaking Irom his car. EYeryEody in the audience Ieels their heart drop as the Ead guy is tipped oII and a helpless girl is in new danger.
The nice motorist oI course pays with his liIe, and now there are two occupants in the trunk. The dead motorist is lying next to the terrified Yery much-aliYe kidnap Yictim.
What more can happen to our helpless Yictim?
Like anyone on a long driYe, the Ead guy needs to stop Ior gas. EYen this normal Ereak Ior a fill-up raises the suspense a notch. Victim Welson pries herselI out oI the trunk and appears Irom the Eack seat. She screams at the gas station attendant she’s Eeen kidnapped.
2I course a film like this doesn’t end that easily. The Ead guy tosses a match, and pooI! GoodEye in a Eall oI flames to Mr. Gas Station Attendant clutching the spraying gasoline nozzle.
The film is a triEute to the liIe-saYing work oI 911 operators, and I recommend it to those who enMoy sitting on the edge oI their seats.
Born in 1996, kidnap Yictim portrayer AEigail Breslin is rememEered Ior her role as Mel GiEson’s daughter Bo in M. Night Shyamalian’s 2002 film “Signs.” She won an 2scar in 2006 Ior “Little Miss Sunshine.”
Her stage deEut was in 2010 in a reYiYal oI “Helen Keller and The Miracle Worker.”