As I previously noted in my review of The Asylum’s Exorcism: The Possession of Gail Bowers, it’s more than obvious The Asylum is whipping up some quick “ka-ching ka-ching” flicks. Here’s the funny thing though…THEY’RE DOING A GREAT JOB. That’s right…their cash-in’s are unexpectedly fun. When a Killer Calls is no exception.
As the intro sequence rolls we witness a woman and her children brutally slaughtered. The killer shows no mercy and even snaps a few cellphone shots for later.
On the other side of town, Trisha (Rebekah Kochan) is stepping off a bus and heading toward The Walker’s house to babysit for their little girl, Molly (Carissa Bodner). She arrives just in time as Mr. & Mrs. Walker (Chriss Anglin & Tara Clark) are in a hurry and late for a banquet. They scuttle out but not being leaving strict instructions that include “No boys or partying”. Naturally, Trisha agrees but what would a film about a babysitter be if there wasn’t a boyfriend to make out with?
Trisha and Molly get along fine and once Molly’s bedtime arrives, Trisha settles in to wait for boyfriend, Matt (Robert Buckley), to arrive for a bit of the sweet sweet babysitter boinking. Everything appears to be going smoothly until she begins receiving calls on her cellphone from a “stranger” asking Trisha if she had checked on Molly. The calls become more frequent as the night goes on and Trisha is forced to contact the police who promptly notify her that she’s to hang up after the next call, wait ten seconds and dial a short number sequence. This will allow the police to trace the call and hopefully halt the pranksters threatening calls.
Meanwhile, boyfriend Matt shows up with his rowdy scumbag friend Frank (Derek Osedach) and his slutty girlfriend Chrissy (Sarah Hall). Naturally, Trisha is pissed off as Frank smashed a china cabinet at her last babysitting gig at the Hewitt’s house. Matt gets Frank to agree to play nice and both victims…uh…I mean characters make their way to the basement for a game of hide the manaconda. The calls resume and figuring it might be Frank pulling some prank, Matt goes to find the two slasher fodder in the basement. There’s only one problem…both Frank and Chrissy are missing! That’s okay though because Matt catches a lead pipe to the grill, tearing cheek and knocking teeth out.
When Trisha begins receiving the calls again she’s shocked to find the police on the other end of one of the calls demanding that she leave the house now as the calls have been traced from inside the Walker house!! Trisha decides to grab Molly when she gets no response from Matt, Frank and Chrissy but nothing can prepare her for the horrors that lie in little Molly’s bedroom. The killer is waiting for Trisha and he’s desperate to prove himself to her even if that means killing her remaining friends and Trisha herself!
So yeah…there’s not a ton of new material here. Fact is…we’ve seen this story told dozens of times in countless variations. Honestly though, was anybody expecting anything original from a film that set itself apart from its big budget counterpart by replacing “Stranger” with “Killer”? Here’s the straight dope though, I found this film entertaining. It delivered on a few points that make these kinds of films worth watching; namely blood, tits, a couple tight asses and acting that doesn’t make your ass clench. Wait, lemme take that back…some of the voice acting was annoying. The voice of the cop on the phone…the voice of the killer when he calls and the stale, plywood acting of the newscaster. The dialogue for these particular roles felt stiff and robotic.
Rebekah Kochan as Trisha, on the other hand, was a really impressive young actress and hot to boot. She didn’t like look Ashlee Simpson which seems to be the “in” thing right now and for me that’s a plus. If I wanted to watch a rich girl stumble around and play an angst ridden goth chick with a plumbers crack I’d visit my local Tower Records. I think the only real issue I had with this film was the editing. I like to call this specific editing trick the “skydiving with an AM radio strapped to the side of your head” effect. It was totally overused. I was almost thrown into a grand mal seizure when the credits rolled.
Aside from the usual snags and issues associated with low budget films, When a Killer Calls was definitely 128 minutes well spent. I’ve made it known on many occasions that I’m a Full Moon and Asylum fan and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Though I’m really hoping The Asylum gets back on track with creating ORIGINAL horror, I’m still finding their “if you like this, you’ll love this” film efforts worthy of Icehouse and lecherous comments. Great job guys & gals!