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Midlands Review - Call Out

By midlandsmovies, Jul 26 2018 04:32PM

Call Out (2018)

Directed by Richard Miller

A deserted trading estate at night is the setting for this new short film from director Richard Miller. Call Out begins with a factory alarm ringing in our ears as a silver car pulls into a car park at night to investigate what may have triggered this wailing siren.

Pulling up we see the half-open entrance to the dingy building as two men exit their vehicle and venture inside with their torches.

Turning the deafening din off, the two members of security brazenly plan to “get this job done” but one can already feel that this may be no ordinary search for the person who has instigated this call out.

We follow one of the men (the expressive actor Richard Shields who has starred in two previous Midlands films we’ve covered - Frettin’ and The Exchange) who begins to solitarily explore the box-filled factory floor.

As light bounces of cellophane-wrapped goods, the director has a keen eye for lighting and shot composition given the darkness in the factory. The scorching flashlight beam together with the expressive sound, creates an intriguing atmosphere before a crash is heard that breaks the eerie silence.

Again, cleverly using sound – the short has no music – a walkie-talkie crackles into life as we hear some ghoulish communications over the radio waves. Creaking doors and cold footsteps give way to a visit to a lorry where the guard turns off the spooky and strange voices echoing from a radio in the main cab. More peculiar however, he then finds his colleagues’ hat discarded on the factory floor.

But before we know it, a freakish person appears and we hear a terrifying scream as we quickly exit the building, before a dark twist back in the car from the beginning brings the film to a mysterious conclusion.

Call Out is a short sharp shocker with an interesting premise that veers into horror territory from its realistic depiction of a monotonous alarm check. For me the “intruder” could have been designed ever-so-slightly better but this is a minor criticism when the technical aspects – especially the sound – are what sells the film.

With the right blend of a good idea, combined with a flourish of technical proficiency, Call Out is a fantastic short which squeezes a lot of story narrative (show don’t tell, film folks!) with little fuss into its short run time. One well worth investigating on its release.

Midlands Movies Mike

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