“The Call Up” – Movie Review

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I found this movie on Netflix.

Shocking, I know. Here’s how IMDB sums it up:

A group of online gamers are invited to try a state-of-the-art virtual reality video game but things take a turn for the sinister when these masters of the shoot ’em up discover they will literally be fighting for their lives.

 


 

 

Sound familiar? Yeah, most of this movie is made up of tropes used in other—I wouldn’t call them better—gaming movies. I won’t really hold the premise of the film against it, however. It’s simply a way to get as bunch of disparate personalities into a group and watch the interpersonal dynamics unfold, which is what these films are really about, anyway.

That’s where The Call Up falls down.

We don’t learn enough about the characters early on to bother trying to care for them, and what little we do learn about them as they progress down through the building in an attempt to “win” the game and save their lives.

Also, we have the weird situation in which one of the characters, Slayer Girl, who isn’t who she seems. We come to learn that she isn’t really the person who had received the invitation to the game, but someone who came in her place since she couldn’t come. A shrinking violet, frightened by the sound of the gunfire, suddenly, about halfway through the game, suddenly changes into a hard-core, gun-wielding bad-ass, completely against type and experience level.

Terrible.

The final reveal at the end of the film is slightly unexpected, if only because we still don’t know enough about the various characters to have made any sort of educated guess about who is involved for what reason.

So, while the fictional technology for immersion into the game is kind of neat, the idea of haptic feedback induced death isn’t new, and the character development isn’t near a level to engender any kind of concern on the viewer’s part.

2/5 for the setting and technology, but that’s about it.

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