European Premiere / Feature – UK
Matthew Parkhill / Puerto Rico / 2010 / 91 min / English
I’m one of those paranoid people who doesn’t answer the phone unless I know who’s calling. But not Mary (Rachelle LeFevre) – she answers the phone even though she knows the woman who keeps calling is both annoyng, dangerous, and determined to destroy her life.
In the process of divorcing her abusive husband complete with a restraining order, Mary moves alone into a new apartment. When Rose (Lorna Raver) calls her demanding to speak to a mysterious Bobby, it soon transpires that they are linked by a time-defying phone line with Rose some 40 years in the past. Determined to manipulate Mary, Rose sets out to destroy everything good in Mary’s life by changing the course of her future.
Of course as in most mainstream horror films almost everything happens in the dark, brought to a new extreme here as Mary’s apartment remains unimaginably dull despite bright sunshine outiside. Her electricity bill must have been astronomical last quarter, because I’m yet to meet anyone who reads or sweeps in the dark – even in a horror that’s pretty extreme. Full of meaningless jolts to induce false feelings of fear, there’s a confusion between these cheap jumps and the genuine tension of the plot, meaning that the core suspense is unneccessarily reduced. BOOM she dropped her plate, BOOM he touched her hand, BOOM someone’s dead – by making us fear so much, director Matthew Parkhill inadvertently makes us fear very little.
It’s good to see something from a local writer (Glasgow-based Sergio Casci), and his script easily rivals any of the big horror blockbusters coming out of Hollywood. That said, this is nothing that hasn’t been seen or done many times before. Its safe formula will draw a few mainstream crowds before quickly being replaced by the next; an outcome which is as predictable as the plot.