When Evil Calls (V)

Samantha, a mousy, frequently shat-upon high school student, makes a wish on her broken cell phone and summons a leering clown demon who offers to grant her a wish. All she has to do is send a text message to 2 of her friends, who will also be granted a wish, provided they send a text message to 2 of THEIR friends, and you get the idea. It seems like the ultimate wish pyramid scheme, and initially Samantha is all over it, but there’s an enormous downside: each of the wishes culminates in a heinous turn of events depicted in an ill-advised combination of shitty latex gore, and even shittier digital gore.

Originally broadcast on cell phones as a sort of horror serial, WHEN EVIL CALLS is broken up into 20 vignettes, each of them around 4-5 minutes long, with a jarring break between each episode being dominated by a drunken janitor who introduces each story by yelling into a BOURNE IDENTITY Epilepsy Cam while slugging shots of rye, like a homeless Crypt Keeper.

The standard episode goes something like this: a lesbian student sees two OTHER lesbian students making out, and then she suddenly receives a text message that says, “Congratulations! You have been granted one wish!”, and the lesbian student says, “I wish I looked good enough to eat,” and sure enough, a hot lesbian student approaches and begins literally chewing her face off in a—you guessed it—cheap-ass display of low tech make-up and digital FX.

There’s a drunken detective who appears occasionally and the stories have a way of winding back around to Samantha, but other than that, this is an irritatingly episodic piece of work, the stories only vaguely connected to one another, with few recurring characters. The DVD cover art strongly suggests that you’re in for an Asian horror film, but Samantha is the only Asian character in the movie, and everyone is as white as Bruce Campbell and speaks with a thick British accent, so don’t go into this expecting herky-jerky ghosts with tendrils of greasy black hair hanging in their faces. I could offer up more examples (a dunce is taking a test while seated next to Ross, a nerd, and wishes, “I wish I could see into Ross’ brain” only to watch Ross jam a couple of #2 pencils into his nostrils, until they come out covered in gray matter) but what’s the point really? Once you realize that some portions of the film aren’t even in focus and the whole thing has absolutely no point, it’s difficult to truly commit to the director’s vision.

With some aggressive gore and a surprising amount of nudity for a low budget horror flick, WHEN EVIL CALLS tries to stutter-step its way toward being passable entertainment, but each segment is too short, fleeting, and idiotic to linger in the mind for more than a split-second. Avoid this one.

Official Score