Company: Zingraff Motion Pictures
Runtime: 94 mins
Plot: Mitch meets the beautiful and seductive Amy at a happy hour and begins a tantalizing romance. Before long, Mitch learns that nothing is as it appears and, unable to trust anyone, finds himself on a nightmarish roller coaster ride as he is accused of murder, and has to run from the law in addition to a mysterious stranger out to kill him.
Review: Fatal Call was among the second group of screeners that MTI Home Video sent my way, and while at first I was a bit cautious of it (just because direct-to-video action movies tend to be a bit bland to me most of the time – I'm much more of a monster, killer animal, sci-fi, horror, or mockbuster kind of guy), I then saw who was starring in it – Danielle Harris, the beautiful and unbelievably hot horror scream queen that has been in countless horror flicks and always brings her A-game. That alone turned me right around on this one and had me excited to start watching it.
And as expected, she gave her performance here 100% as she played exactly the kind of girl that you can just fall in love with right off the bat, but then begin to slowly start to not trust anymore, bit by bit. Hell, even knowing that things aren’t quite right with her, she's still adorable enough that I'd probably still marry her, hahaha. And even though she plays many different 'versions' of her character, the real shocker with her is that she actually smokes in the movie! I know, I know, on first glance that doesn't seem like a big thing at all, but in all honesty I found it rather refreshing to have a character smoking in a movie these days. Not that I'm pro-smoking, because I'm not, but its no secret that Hollywood has shied away from having characters smoke in movies in the last decade or so, and while I'm not personally pro-smoking, there's no point in Hollywood trying to hide the fact that people do smoke, so its refreshing to get a movie that's not scared to have one of its leads be a smoker this day in age. It's actually a minor detail that I wish the later Die Hard sequels had brought back to the John McClane character, but I suppose that's neither here nor there in this particular review.
The cast also includes Jason London, who is quite accustomed to these low budget direct-to-video flicks, as the main lead and kind of the 'boring every man' sort of character that meets 'by chance' Danielle Harris' character at a bar one night and pretty much instantly falls in love with her, gets her phone number, and a day or so later gives her the title phone call that then sets in motion the events of the movie that proceeds to spiral his normal boring everyday kind of life right out of control and into a deadly cat-and-mouse game that, even if he survives, may leave him with not a whole lot to return back to. And the person (other then Danielle Harris, that is) that Jason London is caught in this game with? That would be none other then Hercules himself, Kevin Sorbo who, much like with Danielle Harris, is always a joy to watch (well, in anything that's not Season 5 of Andromeda – ye-ouch). What struck me as different with him this time however, is that I'm used to seeing him play the good guy hero character (Hercules, Andromeda, the Walking Tall remake sequels, Never Cry Werewolf just to name some), so it was a really interesting change to see him playing a creepy methodical assassin-like killer, who only gets even creepier once his true identity is revealed later in the movie; With his role in this movie, Kevin Sorbo went from being a guy that if I saw him crossing the street in front of me I would run up and shake the hand of, to someone I would probably cross the street to avoid as quickly as possible, haha.
Lastly we have Lochlyn Munro (Freddy vs Jason, Scary Movie, Charmed) playing one-half of a detective duo that, when together with his partner, form a very hilarious Abbott and Costello-like frenemy couple that despite being partnered with one another, seem to dislike each other, often with hilarious results and played up with some great chemistry. Granted, he's hardly in the movie (only three scenes, I belive), but every time that he is, I knew I was in for a really good funny scene to lighten the mood to this otherwise pretty serious thriller.
What I didn't like though was the framing device. It starts off with, and constantly cuts to, Jason London's character running like a frightened rabbit through parts of the city while bruised and bloodied, obviously running away and trying to hide from a mysterious figure that is soon revealed to be Kevin Sorbo trying to kill him for reasons currently unknown until much later in the movie. During this over-long and drawn-out chase scene we keep flashing back to the various events leading up to this night, which is where the bulk of the movie takes place. The main thing that bugged me about structuring the movie in this style is that it removed a lot of the impact that some of these scenes were meant to carry, simply because we just didn't yet have the background information or experience required to make some of those scenes tense and impactful, not to mention that it also made sections of the movie a bit confusing at times and I found myself going back and forth trying to figure out if the scene that was currently happening was one of the flashback scenes or the over-long framing chase and by the time I figured it out, it was switching back to the other again. With that said, on the flip side I did kind of feel that it added a bit of extra mystery to the movie as it went along, in terms of how Jason London got from there to here.
The biggest issue I have though isn't really an issue with the movie itself so much as it is with the DVD cover art. As you can see with the picture at the top of this review, the cover would lead you to believe that the movie has non-stop balls-to-the-wall explosive action, and that's very misleading as there's almost no in-your-face action beats at all. While there's some good tension throughout and a couple minor chase scenes scattered around, the majority of the movie is a straight-up thriller mystery. Now I'm not saying a thriller mystery style movie is a bad thing, as it's clearly not since I love those kinds of movies and as you can probably tell from the review up to this point, I've enjoyed this one quite a bit, but I just want people expecting lots of action to know that the cover art for this is very misleading in that regard, so try not to go into the movie being influenced by and expecting what the cover shows. In addition to that, something else it misleads you on is in regards to Ms. Danielle Harris - she may play an intelligent, manipulative, and evil bitch, but she in no way partakes in any of the action in the manner that the cover art shows, so don't go in expecting her to be running and jumping around in tight leather, guns a-blazin' and explosions going off around her, because that couldn't be further from the truth.
I can't really talk a whole lot about this one since so much of it hinges on mysteries and uncovering the truth behind what's going on, that to talk much further or into any greater detail would just start ruining the movie. As it is, there's already a few things I had to spoil in order to talk about anything, but I tried to pick and choose the more obvious twists to mention or the ones that happen pretty close to the beginning. As for all the various twists and turns that populate the movie that I haven’t talked about and spoiled, well some are actually quite genius and had me pretty excited when they happened, while a couple of others were terribly-obvious and you can probably see them coming from really early-on if you're paying even half-attention and that seemed thrown in just for the sake of another surprise twist as opposed to any actual story-related reasons. So much so, actually, that by the end of the movie this thing pretty much had just as many twists and turns as any of the direct-to-video Wild Things sequels.
In short, it's probably nothing I'd re-watch, mainly because most of the enjoyment to be had with it comes from all the twists and once you know how it all ends it kind of makes it difficult to sit through again, but as a one-time watch, if you like a nice low-key, suspenseful, thriller mystery that's well-acted and has the always-lovely Danielle Harris in it (although admittedly, has just a few too many twists for its own good), then you can check Fatal Call out when it hits DVD late next month on July 23rd, however if you're looking for an explosive non-stop high octane action movie like the cover art portrays then you're better off moving onto the next movie on the shelf because this one couldn't be further from that style.
6/10 rooms in the Psych Ward