Thursday, May 15, 2008

When Evil Calls

Ah, the uncertain life of the horror fan. Bewitched by appealing boxcovers, lured by exciting trailers, we find ourselves watching drek with a good boxcover and trailer. This brings us to When Evil Calls.

Samantha (Jennifer Lim from Hostel) is a student at a British high school. Like most girls with actress-quality looks, she is a shunned social outcast, only noticed by popular kids when they need someone to ridicule. One of them even stomps her cell phone, an event as catastrophic to today’s teens as double amputation was back in the day. While trying to fix it in her bedroom, exactly what always happens occurs: an evil clown appears. He tells her she can have any one wish, as long as she forwards the offer to classmates. What a deal. Samantha wishes for popularity, and sends it on.

It goes well for Samantha, and soon she is hanging with the popular kids, and shunning the outcasts. Her success was just marketing, as we watch one after another of her peers, none of whom have read The Monkey’s Paw, make wishes that go awry. These are all telegraphed and predictable. An ugly girl (ugly in the movie sense, which means she wears glasses) wishes she were prettier than Amy. Amy gets acid splashed in her face. A girl sees her boyfriend with another girl, and wishes she would never see him again. When she goes running down the hallway toward a pair of spread, sharp scissors, we know she’ll fall, and where the scissors will go. The most inexplicable punishment comes when a horny student, watching the girls play basketball, wishes for x-ray vision. I thought he’d be grossed out looking at the girls' internal organs, but due to a low budget, he actually gets to see the girls bounce around naked. The twist is that he is then traumatized because he can also see his male teachers nude. I dunno, at 16, I would have taken that deal.

The most interesting thing about the movie is its origin. It was originally done as brief, serialized two-minute clips for mobile phones. In order to rip off DVD consumers, the clips were compiled to make a movie. The 40 minute run time was stretched to 76 minutes by adding Sean Pertwee (one of my favorite actors) as the janitor, “telling” the story to the camera. He recaps the previous accident, previews the next one and makes a pun between each clip. I hope he was well paid for what looks like a days' work.

The only thing left to say is When Evil Calls is much worse than it sounds in the description I’ve given.


Craig Clarke said...

Wow, I thought it was bad just based on the title and the cover, but I had no idea it was that bad.

Nice site, by the way. As you can probably tell, I'm working my way through the archives, and look forward to reading more of your reviews.

KentAllard said...

Thanks. I was going to call this site "An Idiot's Guide To Horror" but Google wouldn't let me.

And my limitations as a writer prevent me from expressing the sheer enormity of the bad that is When Evil calls.

Craig Clarke said...

What is it with these phone-related horror films? I saw one advertised a few months ago (I don't even remember the name, but it came and went with no fanfare), and I said to my wife, "Why don't they just call it The Ring...tone and be done with it?"