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"The Caller" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 17

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"The Caller" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 17

Old 09-23-13, 01:40 AM
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"The Caller" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 17





The Caller (2011)



Selected by DaveyJoe



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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

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Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.



Spoiler tags are unnecessary in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF SPOILERS.
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Last edited by Chad; 09-27-13 at 05:38 PM.
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Old 10-16-13, 08:17 PM
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Re: "The Caller" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 17

I saw this a couple of months ago and quite liked it. This sort of communication across time story has been done before: Frequency and The Lake House for example. But the idea of being threatened by a psycho killer in the past is a good one. It felt like such a helpless situation for the main character, since there's nothing you can do in the present time. And the villain's method of obliterating people from existence is particularly disturbing.

Maybe the filmmakers wrote themselves into a corner with the set-up, but I didn't care for the last part of the movie. But a worthwhile view nonetheless.
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Old 10-17-13, 01:04 AM
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Re: "The Caller" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 17

I really enjoyed The Caller. I agree with Brainee that parts didn't feel original but the old woman psycho character was really creepy. I liked the ending which showed the subtle changes that happened to the main character suggesting even though she retained her memories should couldn't escape the impact of the time changes.
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Old 10-17-13, 09:59 AM
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Re: "The Caller" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 17

Originally Posted by brainee View Post
...the idea of being threatened by a psycho killer in the past is a good one. It felt like such a helpless situation for the main character, since there's nothing you can do in the present time. And the villain's method of obliterating people from existence is particularly disturbing.
Agreed.

I do think they missed a trick by not ending ambiguously on the fade-to-black, though, so we didn't know for sure that she wound up becoming the old woman herself...
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Old 10-17-13, 02:26 PM
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Re: "The Caller" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 17

Originally Posted by ntnon View Post
I do think they missed a trick by not ending ambiguously on the fade-to-black, though, so we didn't know for sure that she wound up becoming the old woman herself...
I took it as that , although ambiguity is fine.

I enjoyed it, but I'm a sucker for time travel. Only two and a half years until our next Leap Day Challenge!
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Old 10-17-13, 04:59 PM
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Re: "The Caller" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 17

I love the old woman stereotypes at play here with the floral dress and perm hairdo or the chippery old voice. It's got under-tones like Rabid Grannies or Mother's Day spoofs that set up homey stereotypes to dash them in a comedic manner, but here it works well seriously.

I love the subtle "telltale heart" approach of a sealed up wall with gruesome horror locked just out of view tormenting the hero.
Originally Posted by ntnon View Post
...I do think they missed a trick by not ending ambiguously on the fade-to-black, though, so we didn't know for sure that she wound up becoming the old woman herself...
I am a big fan of ambiguity but I do wonder how the film would stage it to seem like the main character in the present becomes the homocidal woman in the past without totally blowing apart the narrative into meaningless jelly. I think there are hints to suggest the character is becoming LIKE the woman through psychological torment and enjoyed that aspect.

The old woman being alive in the present also sets up the possibility of a predatory hag stalking and exploiting the hero on a grander scale that some accidental supernatural phone call. [Although at extremes this could get absurd; does the old woman have a time machine or some supernatural "watcher" role?]
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Old 10-17-13, 09:44 PM
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Re: "The Caller" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 17

Watching now, a couple comments.

Luis Guzman! It's always good to see him.

Oh good, an unappealing abusive husband character...

In the span of three minutes this girl has eaten a cheese quesadilla, chocolate ice cream, and potato chips, how is she so thin? And reading in such low light, that's bad for your eye sight! She'll kill herself with reckless behavior before anything supernatural gets to her.

This character seems to be into feminism, and there have been some lines about stereotypes, but she gets all fidgety and scared when a homeless guy sits a few seats away from her on the subway.

Last edited by DaveyJoe; 10-17-13 at 11:13 PM.
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Old 10-17-13, 10:04 PM
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Re: "The Caller" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 17

I liked this better than I expected to. Stephen Moyer was much more likeable in this than in True Blood. And I really appreciated that the girl kept trying to change things in such a seemingly hopeless situation. I mean, how do you fight the past? It hurts my head.
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Old 10-17-13, 10:16 PM
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Re: "The Caller" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 17

Mary is at the store to buy dog food, gets scared and runs away without buying anything. Go back, your dog is fucking hungry!

Shot #37 of actress walking away from camera in tight pants.

This date-at-the-carnival montage is cute but do adults really ride the carousel? All of the nearby mothers are telling their kids not to mind the strange grownups riding the horsey. ALSO, they drop the hat on the carousel and act like it's lost forever, IT'S A CIRCLE. Walk back 10 feet and pick up the hat.

45 minutes into the movie and she's finally feeding to dog... OH WAIT, somebody's at the door, I'll leave the dog food on the counter out of reach. He can go a few more weeks without eating.

Mary is being stalked by abusive husband AND a ghost from the past. Door buzzes:
"John is that you?"
no answer
...fuck it, I'll open the door
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Old 10-17-13, 11:31 PM
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Re: "The Caller" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 17

Originally Posted by DaveyJoe View Post
Mary is at the store to buy dog food, gets scared and runs away without buying anything. Go back, your dog is fucking hungry!

45 minutes into the movie and she's finally feeding to dog... OH WAIT, somebody's at the door, I'll leave the dog food on the counter out of reach. He can go a few more weeks without eating.
He's just going to go all Cujo on her thinking, "I'm fracking starving, AND you put daddy IN THE WALL!"
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Old 10-18-13, 06:44 AM
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Re: "The Caller" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 17

I thought this movie had a lot of problems but I still enjoyed it and felt it had some seriously creepy moments.

My questions, why have these calls suddenly started now? If the old woman wanted friendship and knew Mary when she was little, why the sudden phone calls? It is due to her being in the apartment that Rose used to live in? Why doesn't Mary ask her Mom about this mystery woman, since obviously the Mom has let her hang out with her as a child on at least two different occasions?

This movie has too much going on to keep it all straight. Stalking ex-husband, spooky old lady, time travel/alternate time paths, telephone calls coming from 30 years ago...just too much to wrap up neatly.

That being said, I still really enjoyed this. I had some better arguments/questions about this movie but I should have typed it up when it was fresh in my mind after watching this last night.

My rating: ***1/2 out of *****

Also...the main actress is stunningly beautiful. She has to have the best head of hair in Hollywood.
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Old 10-18-13, 02:05 PM
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Re: "The Caller" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 17

Originally Posted by Spiderbite View Post
Also...the main actress is stunningly beautiful. She has to have the best head of hair in Hollywood.
You're not kidding. Very easy on the eyes. All in all I had fun with this film and I'm a fan of interloper horror (to quote from John Kenneth Muir). It's got the psychological touch that somewhat elevates it about more tradition caller flicks, but gets a bit tedious at times. It's what I call a good "Netflixer".
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Old 10-18-13, 05:57 PM
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Re: "The Caller" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 17

I enjoyed The Caller more than I thought that I would, but I still can't say that I thought that it was particularly good. The thing that I can't parse is that, if Mary did indeed kill Rose in the past, it seems to me that she would remember it. I mean, if I had killed somebody when I was 6 or 7, I think that I would remember it. And if I were to move into the very same apartment where I killed her, wouldn't I notice that it was indeed the same apartment? And did Rose keep tearing down the wall she built every time she added a body, or did she just leave it open for a while until she was through murdering folks? And how did she get so omnipotent anyway, to be able to see everything that Mary's doing in the future?

Just thinking about it makes my head hurt. I like my time travel movies to be simple, like Somewhere in Time. I GET that one.
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Old 10-18-13, 06:47 PM
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Re: "The Caller" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 17

As others have said, I liked this one a lot more than I thought I would. It wasn't the greatest movie in the world but worth a watch. I agree with others about how creepy it was with the feeling of hopelessness the character in the future was experiencing. She was at the mercy of a crazy woman in the past.

And I never thought Mary was becoming the creepy lady from the past based on the ending. I read it as the "new" experience from the past gave her the strength to now be able to knock off her ex, and then it was just easy to take advantage of the walled in area.

Speaking of the ex, that really dragged down the story. It just seemed like one too many story elements at play. On an unrelated noted, I appreciated that her dog was named Dexter because that's my dog's name as well.

Originally Posted by rbrown498 View Post
I enjoyed The Caller more than I thought that I would, but I still can't say that I thought that it was particularly good. The thing that I can't parse is that, if Mary did indeed kill Rose in the past, it seems to me that she would remember it. I mean, if I had killed somebody when I was 6 or 7, I think that I would remember it. And if I were to move into the very same apartment where I killed her, wouldn't I notice that it was indeed the same apartment? And did Rose keep tearing down the wall she built every time she added a body, or did she just leave it open for a while until she was through murdering folks? And how did she get so omnipotent anyway, to be able to see everything that Mary's doing in the future?

Just thinking about it makes my head hurt. I like my time travel movies to be simple, like Somewhere in Time. I GET that one.
I thought the movie explained some of that stuff. Mary didn't remember killing Rose as a kid because in the timeline that Mary grew up, she didn't kill Rose, much in the same way that in her original timeline she wasn't burned by grease. It only happened because future Mary was able to change the timeline. That's why the burn scars "appeared" after it happened over the phone. That's why the photo album changed. She had no memory of it until it happened in the future, so to speak. The professor explained that only the person changing the timeline would realize anything had changed.

And I don't understand what you mean about the omnipotence thing. Are you talking about Rose knowing where Mary was in the future? Well, she did know Mary's name and address. It wouldn't be too tough to track her movements. I don't know. Now I'm getting confused. I felt the movie made sense based on its internal logic. The past wasn't set in stone; I feel like some of your questions presume that it was. Maybe I'm misunderstanding your questions. I will agree it seems like she could have asked her mom about this woman after the burning changed the timeline, but maybe the mom didn't know who did it. I don't know, but I agree that seems like a plot hole.

And spiderbite asked about the old woman knowing Mary in the past. Again, she didn't know Mary in the past until Mary changed that timeline. Then the old woman was able to seek her out. She knew her name, so I'm sure it wasn't too hard to find her with that knowledge. I'm not saying it makes sense based on actual science, but I think it basically works based on the internal logic established in the movie.

Last edited by clckworang; 10-19-13 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 10-18-13, 09:49 PM
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Re: "The Caller" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 17

^ Thanks for trying to explain things, clckworang. I was tired last night when I watched it, and I feel sure that I missed some clues, but I'm not intrigued enough to go back and try to figure it out right now. Maybe a rewatch somewhere down the line will be possible. Your explanations did help, though.
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Old 10-18-13, 10:26 PM
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Re: "The Caller" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 17

For what it's worth, I noticed at least 4 shots where it looks like an old woman was watching Mary. I think she was being stalked.. They creeped me out almost as much as the phone calls.
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Old 10-19-13, 02:23 PM
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Re: "The Caller" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 17

Originally Posted by Undeadcow View Post
I am a big fan of ambiguity but I do wonder how the film would stage it to seem like the main character in the present becomes the homocidal woman in the past...
Oh, not literally: "becomes" as in 'gets talked into providing a final solution to an abusive (ex-)partner'.
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