TNB Night Owl–The Caller

If a movie has Malcolm McDowell it automatically starts out ten points ahead. I could make arguments about his skill as an actor, or how he often chooses unique roles. Really, there isn’t much thought behind it–I just can’t remember the last time I saw him in a movie that I didn’t enjoy. Even the Sprint ads he did with James Earl Jones make me smile. I saw there was a thriller where he was one of two on screen characters and I had to watch it. I thought I could watch it and get some work done. An hour and a half I didn’t get squat done other than get sucked into this crazy little flick.

THE CALLER (1987) starts out like a standard thriller. The Girl (Madolyn Smith) is actually a woman who is staying alone in a cabin in the woods. She goes to the store to get supplies, but something isn’t right. There are strange stains in the back of her car. Her glove compartment contains broken dolls. She’s carrying a hat box that’s dripping red liquid. After night falls she had a phone conversation, checking in on her daughter who is at a sleepover somewhere. Something is amiss.

McDowell’s Caller comes knocking at her door. He wants to use the phone to call AAA as his car broke down somewhere in the woods. Something is not right there either. Within minutes you get a sense the two have a lot more going on with their stories. While The Girl claims she’s waiting for her boyfriend since her husband died in The War, there’s a number of clues leading otherwise. The Caller claims to be just some guy waiting for a tow truck, but he knows too much about The Girl for it to just be intuition.

What follows is a wild cat and mouse chase where the viewers aren’t quite sure who is cat and who is mouse. The writer, Michael Sloane, did a fantastic job setting clues alongside red herrings, intensifying the puzzle of a movie.

I’m going to stop now before I say too much. Just watch this. Trust me:

Question of the night–what actor/actress will you watch no matter what they do?

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