18 April 2019 | dperky
Memorable, If Flawed Indie Horror Flick
Close Calls is one of those films that sort of defies description. Is it a home invasion movie? Sort of. A slasher? It has its slasher-y moments. A piece of an Italian horror inspired fever dream? Definitely! It's a shame that, with so many strong influences, Close Calls never quite gels as a cohesive whole, but we'll get to that later.
Close Calls is about a young woman who's pretty bummed to be left to care for her ailing grandmother who lives in her and her father's attic while her father goes off on a date with her royal witch of a stepmother-to-be. Feeling bored, our heroine takes some drugs and things start getting a bit out of hand. Is she imagining that her grandmother lives on a soiled mattress in a dusty attic? Are those phone calls she keeps getting really pose any major threat?
Writer/director Richard Stringham has a gorgeous visual style, wild ideas, and a flair for finding beauty in the macabre, but his script is messy and suffers from overlength. Honestly, the entire subplot with the grandmother could have been removed altogether since it's never quite clear if the grandmother really does live in a disgusting old attic or if that's just something the heroine is imagining. It's interesting by itself, but it doesn't end up adding much in the end. The evil stepmother has an awful English accent (I'll feel like an idiot if she's actually English, but it sounded phony to my ears and could have been avoided altogether) and some of her moments between her and the father could have been trimmed a bit.
Leading actress, Jordan Phillips, is pretty good, though, and she'd better be since she's in just about every frame of the film. It did seem like a strange and distracting choice to have her in a bra and panties for the entire film, though. I kept wanting her to at least put on some pajamas before she catches cold.
Close Calls is definitely a movie you'll remember even if it's not quite a masterpiece (although, the cinematography is some of the best I've seen in an indie horror film in quite some time).