It is not hard to tell that we were pleasantly surprised by how captivating Halle Berry’s latest thriller is from our theatrical The Call review. On paper, it seems like the story of a Los Angeles 911 operator who fields a call and becomes part of the mystery was a stretch. Yet, it compelled in every sense of the word and now audiences can discover it anew as it has landed on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Berry’s 911 operator is one of the best in the city. That is, until one day when she receives a call from someone seeking help for a home invasion that goes horribly wrong. The film picks up months later after she had withdrawn from the front lines of answering emergencies and instead is training future 911 operators. As she is taking her charges on a tour of the floor (called The Hive) where all the calls come in, a former trainee of hers has trouble with a caller and Berry picks up the phone and our thrills begin.
As teased in The Call trailer, Abigail Breslin is calling from the trunk of a car. She has been kidnapped at the mall and Berry and her must figure out not only where she is on the mass that is L.A. freeways, but more importantly, where she is heading. The duo, even though they are over the phone, form a kinetic chemistry that electrifies every inch of this fresh take on the thriller genre. Both Berry and Breslin must convey their emotional palette from their faces alone as either spends much of the first two acts of the film on the phone. And… never has the threat of a cell phone battery dying been more pulse pounding!
The supporting cast raises their game to the thriller’s height, especially Morris Chestnut as an LAPD officer, who is also Berry’s boyfriend. He becomes integral to the search for Breslin and he handles the highwire act of helping/calming his girlfriend and mounting a search for a lost teen girl before tragedy can fully strike.
There is a twist in The Call that you will not see coming, and that is only part of the reason we thoroughly and surprisingly enjoyed this cat and mouse thriller… where the mouse is only armed with a telephone.
When it comes to bonus features on the DVD and Blu-Ray, we were thrilled to find Emergency Procedure: Making the Film. The doc takes you not only behind the scenes of the making of the Berry thriller, but also into the world of the 911 operator that director Brad Anderson has impeccably captured. Also fascinating is the commentary track provided by Anderson, but also his stars Berry and Breslin. It’s nice to not only get the filmmaker play-by-play of the making of the movie, but the two stars that were so integral to this thriller working as well.
The Blu-Ray (which Movie Fanatic received as part of the Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack for review) contains an alternative ending. Given the shock and awe that is produced by the “official” ending, the second take on his The Call conclusion is utterly fascinating. The Blu-Ray also includes deleted and extended scenes which actually enhance the entire viewing experience.
Another Blu-Ray bonus feature that is utterly electric is A Set Tour of The Hive and The Lair. Director Anderson gives viewers a tour of his set and takes you inside the need to impeccably capture what it is really like for 911 operators in a city the size of Los Angeles. The Inside the Stunts featurette is also as compelling as the thrills in The Call and come from the most original of places. To see how those were crafted is simply enthralling.
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