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Movie Review “The Call” 2020 – Netflix’s Latest Korean Horror

Lisa Truong Feb 27

Netflix’s newest Korean original movie “The Call” shows why Korean horror movies should be a genre of their own. Its clever bend on time and location has claimed it the score of 100% on Rotten Tomato. Here is our review of the Netflix Korean movie, “The Call”.

Synopsis

The Call

With fresh thrillers like “Train to Busan”, “#Aive“, “Burning”, South Korea has become one of the leading countries for chilling horror entertainment. “The Call” is no exception. 

The film takes place in a few different timelines. In the present day, Seo Yeon moves back into her childhood home in her hometown in order to take care of her mom who has been diagnosed with cancer. Seo Yeon believes it was her mom’s fault that her dad died in a fire when she was little. This causes them to have a strenuous relationship. Once settled in at the house, she receives a phone call from a girl whom she thought called the wrong number. The girl, Young Sook, keeps calling and confesses to Seo Yeon how her mother is abusing her. 

One day, Seo Yeon discovers a hidden room in the house and finds unusual objects for ritual and a picture of Young Sook that dates back to 1999. She realizes that they live in the same house, but Young Sook is in 1999 while Seo Yeon is in the present. Something about the phone allows the two to defy time to communicate 

Things turn sinister after Young Sook realizes she can change the future with her actions. And she is thirsty for revenge and blood. 

“The Call” Cast

Park Shin Hye - The Call

Kim Seo Yeon – Played by Park Shin Hye

The 28-year-old living in the present moves back to her hometown to take care of her mother. She is kind, persistent, and deeply misses her father who she believed was killed in a fire that was started by her mom. She corresponds with Young Soo and the two begin an unusual friendship. Seo Yeon asks Young Sook to save her father by preventing the fire. To repay the favor to Young Sook, she warns her about Young Sook’s stepmother attempting to kill her. But after that day, Seo Yeon begins fearing for her life as Young Sook gains an obsession with killing. 

Jeon Jong Seo - The Call

Oh Young Sook – Played by Jeon Jong Seo

Young Sook is the same age as Seo Yeon but lives in 1999. Her step-mother traps Young Sook in her room and performs rituals on her out of fear that her step-daughter will create chaos in the future. Young Sook saves Seo Yeon’s father when she realizes the future can change with her actions. After learning about her potential death, Young Sook takes revenge on her step-mother and begins her killing spree. She threatens Seo Yeon with her parents’ lives if she doesn’t help her escape her arrest. 

Lee El - The Call

Young Sook’s mother – Played by Lee El

As a shaman, it is her duty to rid the world of evil. And she believes that evil lives in her step-daughter, Young Sook. That’s why she locks Young Sook in her room and frequently performs rituals on her. On the surface, she seems cold and heinous, but the audience later learns that there’s a good reason behind her actions. 

Kim Sung Ryung - The Call

Seo Yeon’s mother – Played by Kim Sung Ryung

After her husband’s death, her relationship with Seo Yeon declines over the years. In the present, she is sick with cancer and spends her time at the hospital. Despite everything, she cares deeply for her daughter and feels guilty that she can’t do more for her in the present. She is also keeping a secret from Seo Yeon about the cause of her father’s death. In a temporary new timeline, she is not sick and lives peacefully with her daughter and husband. 

Park Sang Ho - The Call

Seo Yeon’s father – Played by Park Ho San

At the beginning of the movie, the audience learns that he died in a fire when Seo Yeon was little. After Young Sook saves him, he joins Seo Yeon and his wife in a new timeline and the family lives happily in Seo Yeon’s childhood home.  

Is it Worth Watching?

What I enjoyed most about this movie was that it kept me guessing with every twist and turn. You never know who to trust and the ending might not actually be the ending. With saturation in movies, especially thrillers and horror, it’s often very hard to come up with a new innovative story. However, “The Call” took me by surprise with its character development and chilling plot. There’s tension, drama, blood, time-traveling, plot twists, all the elements someone would want out of a good thriller. 

Park Shin Hye is known for her work in popular Korean dramas, like “Heirs” and “Pinnochio” so it’s really refreshing to see her in a role that is so different from her other ones. Jeon Jong Seo gives an amazing performance as a psycho killer. This is her second major film, after “Burning” in 2018, which was selected as South Korea’s choice for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars of the same year. Unfortunately, it was not nominated. However, it goes to show just how exceptional Jeong Jong Seo is as an actress. 

Audience Perception of “The Call”

On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has an audience score of 79%. On google review, it has a score of 4.6 stars. Some reviewers praised the movie for its clever way of building mystery. 

Check out the trailer for “The Call” below and stream it on Netflix. 

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