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The Call is a 2013 American crime thriller film directed by Brad Anderson and written by Richard D'Ovidio. The film stars Abigail Breslin as Casey Welson, a teenage girl kidnapped by a serial killer and Halle Berry as Jordan Turner, the 9-1-1 operator who receives her call. Morris Chestnut, Michael Eklund, Michael Imperioli, and David Otunga also star. The story was originally envisioned as a television series, but D'Ovidio later rewrote it as a 94-minute feature film. Filming began in July 2012 and spanned a period of 25 days, with all scenes being shot in Los Angeles, mainly Burbank and Santa Clarita.
The plot of the film focuses on the role of 9-1-1 operators in law enforcement. Specifically, it follows Turner, an operator who is still suffering emotionally from a botched procedure and who is thrown back into fielding calls following the abduction of a girl. For most of the film, Turner performs as a typical 9-1-1 operator before becoming active in the field investigation in the final act.
A screening of The Call was held at the Women's International Film Festival hosted at the Regal South Beach theater on February 26, 2013. TriStar Pictures released it to theatres a few weeks later on March 15, 2013. Considered to be high-concept by many reviewers, the film proved a commercial success, grossing over $68 million despite receiving mixed reviews. Halle Berry was nominated for Choice Movie Actress in a Drama at the Teen Choice Awards and Best Actress at the BET Awards.
A Los Angeles Police Department veteran 9-1-1 operator, Jordan Turner (Berry), receives a call one night from a teenage girl, Leah Templeton (Evie Thompson), fearing for her life as a man breaks into her home. Jordan calmly advises her to conceal herself upstairs, but when the call is disconnected, Turner calls Leah back, a decision that later costs Leah her life, as her hiding spot is given away to the intruder. Jordan attempts to dissuade him from going further over the phone. He responds "It's already done" and hangs up, leaving her distraught. The next day, Jordan sees a television report confirming that Leah has been murdered. Emotionally affected by the incident, Jordan tells her boyfriend, Officer Paul Phillips (Morris Chestnut), that she can no longer handle field calls.
Six months later, she is working as a trainer for 9-1-1 operators. Simultaneously, Casey Welson (Breslin) a young teenager is kidnapped from a mall parking garage after parting with her friend, Autumn, and forced into the trunk of a car. Casey had taken Autumn's cellphone which she had forgotten, so she is able to use it to call 9-1-1. A rookie operator (Jenna Lamia) receives the call and cannot handle it and Jordan overhears the situation and takes over. Casey is using Autumn's disposable phone, so her exact GPS location cannot be found. While the kidnapper drives, Jordan guides Casey through knocking out a tail light and signaling people in nearby cars. One woman who sees Casey waving her arm out of the trunk of the car calls 9-1-1, allowing the police to narrow their search. The man ends up killing one person and burning another who tries to intervene and switches cars with one victim, Alan Denado (Michael Imperioli), in an attempt to elude the police. However, he inadvertently leaves fingerprints at the scene of the car switch and the police are finally able to determine his identity as Michael Foster (Michael Eklund).
Upon arriving at his destination, Michael removes Casey from the trunk and finds the phone in her pocket, with 9-1-1 listening on the line. Through the phone, Jordan informs him that his identity is uncovered and advises him to turn himself in and not hurt the girl. Before smashing the phone, Michael responds, "It's already done" and Jordan realizes that Michael is the same culprit who killed Leah six months prior. Meanwhile, Phillips, accompanied by Officer Jake Devans (David Otunga) and others in law enforcement, raid Michael's home to look for clues. Finding a photo of Michael and his sister, Melinda, they realize that Casey resembles the latter. Additionally, the house seen in the photo is eventually revealed by Michael's wife to have burned down, although a nearby cottage still remains. The police raid it, but find nobody there and leave. Determined to catch the killer, Jordan drives to the secondary home where she finds a number of photos of Michael with his leukemia-stricken sister. Stepping outside, she recognizes sounds from an outdoor flagpole, reminiscent to sounds heard in the background in the final moments of the 9-1-1 call. She also finds a trap door amid dirt and scrub located where the primary house once stood. After she accidentally drops her cellphone down the cellar, she climbs down in without calling the police.
Navigating the cellar, Jordan hides from an emerging Michael. The cellar itself pieces together Michael's backstory. Foster had incestuous feelings towards his sister and was distraught when she fell ill, lost all of her hair and passed away. Foster has a prop head that he keeps in the cellar that he treats like his sister. He has also been scalping and killing young girls who have similar blond hair, trying to find scalps that match his sister's hair. Jordan soon finds Casey strapped down to a dentist chair and attacks Michael, as he begins to lacerate her. She frees Casey and both manage to gradually escape the cellar. Michael pursues them and they are able to injure and kick him back down into the cellar, rendering him unconscious. While he is knocked out, they tie him to a chair. When he regains consciousness, they inform him that they plan to leave him to die and claim that Casey had escaped, Jordan found her in the woods and Michael simply disappeared. He tells them they cannot just leave him there. As they walk out, Jordan delivers Foster a taste of his own medicine, using his own words, "It's already done," against him, then closes and locks the door behind her.
- The Call at the Internet Movie Database
- The Call at Box Office Mojo
- The Call at Rotten Tomatoes