• Gorey Bits

Night Caller

Contributed by Guest Writer, Gorey Bits


Dir. Chad Ferrin (2022)


CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS


From Girls and Corpses, Crappy World and 123 Go Films comes a brand new thriller called: Night Caller. The film follows a telephone psychic named Clementine Carter (Susan Priver). Clementine becomes entangled in a web of mystery when she begins receiving phone calls from a deranged man. Through psychic visions, Clementine learns that she’s been talking to a serial killer. This mysterious man has been scalping innocent victims in the Los Angeles area. During their telecommunications, Clementine is able to predict the murders before they happen. With the help of her bed ridden father and clairvoyant co-worker, Clementine races to dig up dirt on the brutal slasher before he commits more crimes. Night Caller was written and directed by Chad Ferrin. Ferrin is responsible for some low budget cult classics such as Unspeakable, Exorcism at 60,000 Feet and the most recent 2020 release, The Deep Ones. There’s also my personal favorite: Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! Each and every single one of these movies are up my alley. Ferrin’s newest release Night Caller will go down in history as one of his best. Night Caller is a brutally violent film that pays homage to the slashers and giallo films of old. Its gruesome content is reminiscent of movies like Maniac and Black Christmas. It also has elements seemingly inspired by Psycho and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Night Caller is what you would get if Alfred Hitchcock directed a Grind House movie. It’s amazing to see what Chad Ferrin is able to create with a small budget and a short amount of time. When watching Night Caller (or any of his work really), it becomes clear that Ferrin himself is a huge fan of the horror genre, especially the works of Mario Bava. The death scenes in Night Caller are vicious in nature and packed with some impressive practical makeup effects. While the death scenes aren’t original in any way, I feel like they’re the highlight of the experience. There’s one bedroom scene involving a knife that’s going to penetrate my mind for a very long time. The film has a dark and gritty look to it. If Night Caller were to come out in the 1980’s, it would be near the top of the “video nasties” list. It’s ruthlessly vulgar and unpleasant at times. Night Caller’s gruesome gore and politically incorrect nature might make it hard for general audiences to watch. Personally, I think the shock value makes it worth the price of admission. Susan Priver is the film’s main star, and she’s absolutely terrific as Clementine Carter. We follow Clementine as she engages in a cat and mouse journey with a serial killer. Alongside Susan Priver is an unconventional cast of actors, some of which have been in Chad Ferrin’s other films. What was most exciting (for me) was seeing Kelli Maroney onscreen. I’ve always been a big fan of Kelli, and although her speaking role in Night Caller was minimal, it was great nonetheless. The same goes for Robert Rhine, who plays one of the detectives in the movie. I’ve been following the group “Girls and Corpses” since the old MySpace days. It’s a cult magazine that speaks for itself. Each of the characters served a purpose and the chemistry between the cast members made it fun to watch. You even get to spend a fair amount of time with the antagonist. Through bits of backstory you get to see and understand why the killer chooses to commit murder. As expected, Night Caller does have its fair share of flaws, the main one for me being that there’s little to no suspense. There are plenty of gory death scenes to whet your appetite for violence, but each one fails to deliver a sense of dread. It’s all shock value without the suspense. I don’t know if it’s because of the score (which is good) or the editing. It doesn’t help that the death scenes gave off a “been there, done that” sort of vibe. There are some surprises that lead to a shocking conclusion. A little more suspense would’ve elevated each of those scenes. With what you get, Night Caller should be on your list of films to watch. This one will be in my top ten for 2022. What Night Caller lacks in dread and suspense doesn’t hold it back from being a good movie overall. I was pleasantly entertained by the story, the acting and the impressive blood and gore effects. Even the mentions of classic horror within the dialogue were a nice touch. Night Caller is a well made relentless slasher, proving once again that Chad Ferrin knows how to craft an entertaining film with a small budget. I give the movie Night Caller: 7 out of 10 creepy phone calls


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