Parents' Guide to

The Call (2020)

By JK Sooja, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Dark, bloody thriller has unexpected twists, violence.

Movie NR 2020 112 minutes
The Call (2020) Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 12+

Noice

noice
age 15+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (4 ):

This movie certainly requires some suspension of disbelief, but it still delivers thrills while providing unexpected twists and scares along the way. The Call starts out with a silly premise, a phone in an abandoned house that somehow connects those on either end through time. This phenomenon is never explained, and the reasons why these two young women are connected is also never explored, but the writing is surprising and tense. The actors clearly relish their incredibly juicy scenes, especially Jun Jong-Seo (Young-sook), like when she finds herself very disappointed with an outcome and vents by beating and punching a bunch of body parts tied up in plastic bags that are floating in a large sink. Within seconds she's fully in the sink herself, thrashing about, punching, and screaming. Likewise, Park Shin-Hye continues to impress, and she again stuns with an incredibly emotive and tender performance, needing to cry often, scream, and also somehow get revenge.

The deeper social underpinnings of why a family-less family drama like The Call resonates so strongly in South Korea (and also films like Mother, Parasite, Oldboy) might be misunderstood or missed altogether by non-Korean audiences, but in no way does this take away from the film working as a simply effective thriller with a fun conceit. For instance, when Seo-yeon finds out that Young-sook was an orphan and now cared for by an "evil stepmother" figure, Seo-yeon notably reacts in a devastated fashion, showing immense sadness and compassion toward Young-sook. But the plot and horror of The Call belies a darker norm of Korean society and culture where family is everything. It reinforces, again, that those without "real" family can easily lose themselves and quickly turn to evil as they are "lost."

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