The Caller 2011

In The Caller, our main character, Mary Kee (Rachelle Lafavre, also known as Victoria from Twilight) is just your average, but abused wife trying to get away from her psycho husband Steven (Ed Quinn, who also played “Nathan Stark” in SyFy’s Eureka).  In the midst of a divorce, she moves into a less than desirable apartment complex and finds herself not only trying to deal with her restraining order-ignoring ex-hubby stalking her but also some odd phone calls to her new place.  The caller, who is clearly unhinged from the jump-start, tells Mary that her boyfriend recently came back from the Vietnam War — thus indicating that the caller (Rose) is calling Mary from the past (1979).  Mary, unbelieving at first, soon finds herself at the mercy of crazy Rose, who has proven that she can and will change things in Mary’s current life by making changes to her past.  And really, anyone who has seen Star Trek or read Ray Bradbury knows this is entirely possible and can lead to some very nasty results.

Let’s get to the bad stuff first.  Unfortunately, The Caller is an in-your-face rip off of Sleeping with the Enemy — from the dorky new love interest, visit to the county fair and right down to the poofy hair.  True, in this one the ex-husband still knows his wife is alive, but other than that, there really isn’t much of a difference between the two in terms of the sub-plot.  However, since this isn’t the main thrust of the story, I had little difficulty overlooking this minor annoyance.  I was too busy trying to figure out what the hell was going on with the rest of the movie, and I guess that’s a good thing.

However, some other things bothered me about this flick as well.  First, as much as this movie did a great job portraying Mary acting pretty realistically to the supernatural things happening around her, there were several obvious things that no normal human being would do.  For instance, Rose asks Mary for her name and Mary gives it to her, first and last.  Now, keep in mind this happens after Mary already knows that Rose is a nutjob — a nutjob from the past or not — and that was a pretty stupid thing to do.  I don’t give anyone (much less wrong numbers from loonies) my whole name over the phone unless I have called them.  Mary also later gives Rose her new love interests full name (John, played by Stephen Moyer) and this was after Rose had already proven she could make changes to Mary’s life.  Duh and double-duh.  It was also exceptionally unrealistic that an 80-something year old woman would be able to chop her way into Mary’s apartment and damn near kill her.  Umkay.

I know it sounds like I didn’t enjoy this film, but on the contrary, I actually really did.  It is a unique twist on some old concepts, the pace and acting were good and the overall feel of the film was perfect (a little dark and musty, just as a supernatural thriller should be).  If I have any real complaint, it’s just that the film didn’t seem like it knew where it wanted to go.  Was Mary crazy and imagining all of the things happening to her or was Rose real?

For the bulk of the movie, we are led to believe that Rose was indeed very real but then things happen which differ with that knowledge.  For instance, John talks Mary into moving out of her apartment and in with her mother to get away from Rose.  Somehow Rose knows about this conversation, which took place at John’s house (no phones were involved either).  Now, there was a shadowy figure seen a few times in Mary’s present (which turns out to be the 80-ish Rose) but the Rose in the past knows about it and does some things in the past as retaliation.  I never did figure out how in the heck that happened and I question whether the director did either.  It’s almost like they hoped no one would notice.

I can’t tie this movie up in a nice and neat bow simply because the film doesn’t let me.  I came away from it pretty sure that Rose was real but honestly, I’m not 100% that the whole thing wasn’t in Mary’s head ala Black Swan.  All in all though, I suppose this is why the film worked for me — unlike Black Swan, it kept me guessing not only up to but also past the end.

IMDb NOTE:  Looks like IMDb and I are speaking terms again, as they give the film a 6.2 rating and I agree.  I think this is fair as the movie was interesting but had enough bumps to lose points with viewers.  Don’t you just love happy endings?