South Korean Thriller ‘The Call’ Is A “Supernatural Mind-Bender” With A “Jaw-Dropping” Storyline

The Call, Park Shin-hye. Credit: Jung Jae-gu / Netflix
The Call (2020  Netflix) is a South Korean thriller directed with assurance and bravado by 2nd-time director, Chung-Hyun Lee. This is the sort of slightly supernatural mind-bender that hearkens back to a sort of movie that is rarely made these days: operatic, epic, and dare I say, De Palma-esque. 

The Call, Jong-seo Jun. Credit: Jung Jae-gu / Netflix

The Call centers on the relationship between two young women, both 28, both living in the same house. The initial twist is that one woman, Young-sook (Jong-seo Jun), lives in 1999. While the other woman, Seo-yeon (Park Shin-Hye), lives in 2019. The two are linked by an admittedly preposterous plot device, somewhat similar to the mailbox in The Lake House. You see, both can communicate to each other through time via telephone. 

Once both grasp the reality of this unusual connection, they begin to form a bond, each confiding in their respective emotional struggles. Young-sook is brooding, into indie/grunge music, and dealing with an abusive mother. Seo-yeon is still reeling from the loss of a parent. If this was a movie about women from two times learning to cope and bond, The Call might be little more than an elevated Lifetime movie, but, this film has other plans. 

Bruce Purkey talks about The Call on the latest episode of Find Your Film, which also features reviews of Parallel, Home Alone, and Anything For Jackson:

Before long, Seo-yeon discovers through just a bit of internet research she can discover what happens in Young-sook’s future, and Young-sook’s future is filled with tragedy. Conversely, Young-sook realizes she might be able to alter a tragic event in Seo-yeon’s past. Thus, both decide to alter time. As any frequent moviegoer knows, altering the past is often a bad idea. Just ask Marty McFly. All of this would be enough for a relatively entertaining movie, but a twist of all twists happens at about the halfway point, forever altering the relationship between the two leads.

“The Call” (Netflix) Production Still.

I will not spoil the remainder of the movie, but, suffice it to say, many will find the second half to be ever-more preposterous and might find themselves jumping ship. I, on the other hand, relished the way this movie runs headlong into madness, following its premise through in ever-more jaw-dropping ways. If you are a fan if mind-bending thrillers and South Korean cinema, The Call, on Netflix, is well-worth your time.

The Call, Park Shin-hye. Credit: Jung Jae-gu / Netflix
Wander filmmaker April Mullen is interviewed on the latest Flick City installment of CinemAddicts:

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