Director: Joe Post
Cast: Louis Bauer, Zack Bertram, Grant Fiedler
Production Company: JPost Productions
Runtime: 86 minutes
Everyone knows not to answer the phone in a horror movie, but what about making a call yourself? Well, it turns out that’s not such a great idea either! Director Joe Post brings the laughs and the scares in his horror comedy When the Old Phone Rings (2017).
In the movie, a group of college dudes move into a creepy old mansion after they accidentally burn down their fraternity house. They discover an ancient telephone and decide to use it to make prank phone calls. Their sophomoric fun is soon interrupted by supernatural shenanigans…
The boys deliver clever rapid fire exchanges of dialogue that keep their scenes entertaining. In many ways, this movie is a throwback to the days of The East Side Kids and films like Spooks Run Wild (1941) and The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters (1954).
The old house featured in the movie is really a fantastic location. It’s full of relics and vintage photos that add a lot to the spooky atmosphere. It’s also why this movie feels a lot like a classic horror comedy from the past, just with more swearing and rude jokes.
Things do become more serious after a mysterious death that leaves the guys wondering if one of them is responsible. The balance between the playfulness and the more sober moments is handled well. It’s also hard to predict when the story will go one way or the other.
Gothic Gary (Jacob Lerg) adds a whole new dimension to the movie when he shows up. He presents himself as an authority on the supernatural, but he’s just a big dope like the rest of them. I think the rapport between the friends is this movie’s greatest strength.
I also enjoyed the reference to When a Stranger Calls (1979) which happens to be another horror film where a telephone plays an important part. The movie even has a brief scene from Night of the Living Dead (1968) with a silly new audio track added.
The special makeup effects by Hannah Rutledge and the music by Thomas Bunting are both great too. When the Old Phone Rings should please fans of screwball comedies and haunted house movies in one fell swoop. Better take that call…
– John Migliore
For more information on the film, check out the links below…