A disgruntled phone company employee develops a device whereby those answering a phone can be murdered, and it's up to Nat Bridger to stop the killer.A disgruntled phone company employee develops a device whereby those answering a phone can be murdered, and it's up to Nat Bridger to stop the killer.A disgruntled phone company employee develops a device whereby those answering a phone can be murdered, and it's up to Nat Bridger to stop the killer.
For whom the funeral bells toll
"Bells" looks like an average and routine 80's slasher but you should know to expect a little bit extra from the talented director of "Logan's Run"; Michael Anderson. And indeed, only a couple of minutes into the film and already it turned out that my impressions and expectations towards this film were entirely wrong and I was in for a pleasant surprise. "Bells" isn't a teen slasher movie at all (despite the VHS cover art and the cheesy sounding alternate title "Murder by Phone") but a fairly well plotted thriller that even shows the ambition to question the reliability of gigantic enterprises and refer to government conspiracies. How many "Friday the 13th" rip-offs can righteously claim to have done that? Richard Chamberlain stars as university professor and environmentalist Nat Bridger who privately investigates the bizarre death of one of his former students. The poor girl turns out to be the first victim of a maniac who developed a method to kill people over the phone (!) by sending an extremely high level of voltage through the speaker. Don't ask me to explain the technical aspects, but the victims start to shake and bleed from eyes & ears before getting catapulted in the air by an explosion! Not exactly tasteful but original and very entertaining to look at! This killing modus operandi as well as the further development of the "whodunit" storyline is often very implausible and silly, but you easily look past these flaws simply because the pace is exciting and the suspense-sequences are extremely intense. The film's only real disadvantage is that the scenery has severely dated by now and that some of the observations in the script turned out very exaggerated (for example, the phone company tour guide's estimation that there will be 1.4 trillion phones by the year 2000). Perhaps, this even is a rare example of a horror film that would actually profit from a remake! I'm convinced that some of the nowadays scriptwriters can come up with nifty ideas when re-working this premise into a story that revolves on mobile phones, teleconference attributes or web cams. Class actor Chamberlain is adequate in the lead, but the best performances are delivered by Sara Botsford as his love-interest and Gary Reineke as the obnoxious police detective.
- Mar 15, 2006
Contribute to this page
Suggest an edit or add missing content