There is something so deeply satisfying about a film that defies all expectations and becomes something more than ever anticipated. While watching the trailer for Chad Ferrin’s Night Caller (don’t watch the trailer, go in as blind as possible, it is very much worth the surprise and shock at what you’re watching versus any preconceived notion of what to expect), you expect this B horror movie that’s set like a ‘70s grindhouse film. However, that explanation may give you an idea of what you’re about to get yourself into, but nothing can prepare you for how absolutely fantastic Night Caller actually is; it’s something unlike anything I’ve ever seen in the modern era of film. Night Caller is, make no mistake, brutal, and its brutality is not for the faint of heart. There is so much happening throughout the feature and all of it serves its purpose of creating this disturbing, graphic world.
Night Caller focuses on our protagonist, Clementine Carter (Susan Priver), who’s a psychic medium taking calls and delivering the fortunes for the callers. She gets a call from a clearly fake name at the office she shares with Jade (Bai Ling), another psychic, but this call is unlike anything she has experienced before — it is from a serial killer. However, instead of admitting he is a serial killer out of the gate, Clementine has visions of the people he kills, the person who attempts to kill him, and more of his victims. This turns into a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse as Clementine wants to stop the killer before he can strike again, but also wants to take things into her own hands as her story is quite unbelievable from a police perspective. While Clementine has to take on this serial killer herself, she does turn to her father, Charles (Robert Miano), for some help as he is ex-police. While he advises against her taking down this serial killer herself, he also possesses some form of psychic ability and gives her a gun to protect herself.
What works in the favour of Night Caller is Chad Ferrin’s direction and Kyle McConaghy’s cinematography. Sure, the year is 2022, and the movie presents itself as a grindhouse movie from the 1970s, but it refuses to stop at just the aesthetic of the world it creates. The film looks grainy and there is no digital rendering done to make the film feel modern; it feels like something you’re finding while browsing one of the last video stores and the clerk recommends this film and describes it as completely bonkers, twisted, and gory. The way the movie flows and feels is exactly what one who wants to relive those glory days of the grindhouse comes to want and mostly expects from films like this. Night Caller does exactly what it sets out to do and brings the horrors and gore to the forefront while keeping the aesthetic intact. In fact, it does it so well, don’t be surprised if Tarantino mentions Night Caller as a film he absolutely loves down the road, because this screams his style and intensity.
Now, with everything set for a grotesque gorefest and brutality raining down for 84 minutes of suspense and terror, there need to be performances that back up what Chad Ferrin envisioned. Susan Priver delivers anything and everything one could want from a protagonist in a film like this. There is conviction and honesty throughout her performance that encapsulates every emotion and drives home the true terrors and horrors that are presented throughout the film.
Night Caller is anything and everything genre fans have been looking for in a film. There is so much love and passion that pours through the screen in this gritty film that just grabs you at the throat and Clockwork Orange-s you into watching it. There is no letting up, so hold onto your butts and enjoy the intensity and brutality of Night Caller.
Available on VOD and digital May 13th, 2022.
Final Score: 4 out of 5.