Director: Richard Stringham
Cast: Jordan Phipps, Greg Fallon, Carmen Patterson
Production Company: S & Drive Cinema
Runtime: 128 minutes
Fasten your seatbelts! This one’s a real keeper. Close Calls (2017) should definitely be seen by anyone that considers themselves a longtime fan of stylized horror movies…
Morgan is a troubled teenager who is grounded by her father. When he goes out for the night, she must contend with a freaky grandmother and a psychotic caller. She copes with the situation by turning to drugs, but that may be exactly what’s making things worse…
Jordan Phipps from Amazon Hot Box (2018) is sassy and strong in the role of Morgan. She’s in almost every scene and is often all alone. The movie basically rests on her shoulders. Luckily, Phipps is up to the challenge. Her performance is wonderful.
Greg Fallon from The Boo (2018) is extremely creepy as Barry Cone. He reminded me a lot of Bobby Peru, as played by Willem Dafoe in Wild at Heart (1990). He flashes the same sinister smile. He’s a character you’ll love to hate.
If it isn’t apparent from some of my past reviews, let me make it clear that I love seeing indie actors in multiple projects! Quite a few familiar faces in this one…
Carmen Patterson from It Knows (2018)
Star McCann from 10/31 (2017)
Alix Lindbergh from Massacre at Bluff’s Ridge (2018)
Samantha Laine Anderson from And Then There Was Blood (2017)
Robert Babcock from Urban Legend (2016)
Vaughn Collar from Evil Deeds (2018)
The film is clearly set in modern times, but has a distinct affection for the 70s and 80s, which goes all the way down to the furry toilet in the bathroom. Some of Morgan’s lines even make her appear to be a stereotypical Valley girl from another generation.
The movie’s cinematic influences are also from a bygone age. There’s definitely a grindhouse feel, with an inclination toward exploitation. I find it most comparable to When a Stranger Calls (1979), but it’s also reminiscent of Phenomena (1985) and Black Christmas (1974).
A dizzy split-screen moment even reminded me of Brian DePalma’s work.
Much of the film is like a drug-induced nightmare. It’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s imagined in some scenes. Close Calls is also very atmospheric and benefits from great lighting. One main location is predominantly used, creating a claustrophobic sensation.
The music by Rocky Gray works perfectly too. It has all the right elements to make this film sound just like a classic giallo movie. That’s something I wish I could say more often!
Close Calls is a nostalgic ride into the entertaining realm of surreal horror. Be sure to see it…
– John Migliore
For more information on the film, check out the links below…