Digital Dismemberment: The Last Call (Short, 2019) Screener Review

Digital Dismemberment: The Last Call (Short, 2019) Screener Review

 

Director: Marcus Slabine

Producers: Dee Imbert, Elizabeth Piper S., Denvi Rose, Marcus Slabine and Karolina Tyszkowska

Special Effects: Elizabeth Piper S.

Cast: Terry Alexander (Day of the Dead [85], The Horror Show (1989)), Dee Imbert, Elizabeth Piper S., Geoff Lerer, David Morwick, Marcus Slabine, Richard Bird, Lori Cardille (Day of the Dead [85]0 and Paul Sheehan

Released By: Into The Labyrinth

Release Date: 10/19/19

 

The Premise: “Today is legendary radio DJ Harry Cunningham’s final day working at WQRX FM radio before he makes the transition to XM. He came into work expecting to just do a clip show, takes some calls, and say his goodbyes. However, when a strange caller demands he unearth a dark secret live over the radio, Harry refuses. One by one everyone in the station is being picked off by this strange caller who only has one request…play the tape or DIE.”

While I do not normally review shorts as part of the Digital Dismemberment series (usually because there is not enough content for an extensive review), I made an exception for THE LAST CALL because of another short its Director Marcus Slabine directed back in 2008 called ZOMBIE LOVE STORY. I was fascinated to see how far he had comer as a filmmaker and THE LAST CALL does not disappoint. The film has a certain claustrophobic vibe once all of the characters are contained within the radio station and it certainly becomes more stifling as there becomes fewer and fewer places to hide from the mysterious caller/killer. The camera angles in certain scenes helped to make the spaces feel even more confined and help lend to the illusion of having nowhere to go…

Full marks also go out to casting choices. Terry Alexander was ABSOLUTELY the right choice to portray Harry Cunningham. His voice is the perfect embodiment for a radio host and certainly took me back to his role in Romero’s DAY OF THE DEAD (85). Imagine the double delight to also see Lori Cardille in the role of Francine (who also has her own place in Romero’s zombie delight). It was nice to see the two of them together again and you can see the same chemistry as in their previous work together. The rest of the cast blended seamlessly together and everyone came across as genuine in their roles. The chemistry between the cast and crew is obvious when watching this short…

If you are looking for a gorefest, this short may leave you wanting more as far as the mayhem goes. People certainly get dropped in various ways, but you will not be getting fountains of blood spraying everywhere. However, I feel what use of blood we see is more enhanced by the fact that most of it takes place in dark situations that leaves your mind imagining more. The real horror in this story is in the cat and mouse game between Harry and the caller/intruder as well as the twisted history that they share. The rest basically become victims of circumstance but Marcus finds a way to make it interesting by making it sudden and out of nowhere. The twist at the end is a nice dynamic it certainly makes you think back to when prank calling was big business in radio. I think a full length treatment of this short is a good possibility and could make for an interesting watch as the suspense can be spun out even further…

Overall, this is a well made and chilling tale of horror starring Terry Alexander that will leave you with second thoughts of answering the phone! As i mentioned before, I could see this being the basis for a full length film where you could draw out more of the suspense, character development, blood and more. A new URBAN LEGEND tale perhaps? The plot is nice and tight, the acting never comes across as cliched or mailed in and the technical points like camera and sound are on point. It will be interesting to see where Marcus decides to go from here but I certainly hope he continues to look down the path of horror. I also hope that we start to see more of Terry Alexander (and Lori Cardille) in genre fare. It was nice to see faces and a voice from the past brought up fond memories..

Movie Rating: 4 out 5

Posted by Dedman

Writer for House of Tortured Souls website, Coffin Cuties & Digital Dead Magazines, Podcast Host for The Calling Hours & Owner of Slit of the Wrist Fx

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