A Killer from the Past Wreaks Havoc with the Present in The Caller (2011)

The plot device of time travel most commonly appears within the science fiction genre, imagining the possibility of a technology that would allow people to freely move forward and backwards through time. Yet when time travel appears in the horror genre in films such as Donnie Darko (2001) and Triangle (2009), the story sometimes ignores the technology idea and instead depicts a reality where warps in time are just random events that happen to hapless, unsuspecting victims. Such a view is a very unnerving one, that something as inescapable and inexorable as time can also be inconceivably unstable and that people can be sucked into parallel timelines or never-ending time loops without anyone else noticing. In the case of The Caller, a 2011 thriller directed by Matthew Parkhill, the story of horrible, unexpected things that can happen when the present unwittingly shares information with the past.

The Caller focuses on Mary Kee (Rachelle Lefevre), a woman who just divorced her abusive husband Steven (Ed Quinn) and is looking to start her life over as she moves into a well-worn apartment complex. One night, she receives a phone call from a shaken womand names Rose (Lorna Raver) who believes that her lover is cheating on her. After a few conversions with Rose, Mary learns that Rose is calling her from 1979, and the information that she innocently shared with Rose is beginning to have disastrous consequences for the present.

There aren't many suspense thrillers like The Caller, and this one had me on the edge of my seat for most of the film. When the relationship between Mary and Rose becomes adversarial, it becomes disturbingly clear how much power Rose really has over Mary--Mary can't stop whatever Rose does in her time and what kind of impact it will have in the present. Also, according to the time travel rules of the film, only Mary can remember how things were before Rose changes the timeline; thus, only Mary understands the true horror of what is happening around her--and to her--but no one notices because as far as everyone else is concerned, the changes made by Rose were how things have "always" been.

I honestly couldn't predict where this film was going and the ending is a complete knockout, deftly using the themes and structure of the story to deliver a jaw-dropping final image. Time travel films don't get much more intense than this, so I highly recommend The Caller.


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