Creepy movies and shows about the end of the world are exactly what I like. My comfort is re-watching movies like “War of the Worlds” and old episodes of “The Twilight Zone.” So when Apple TV announced “Calls” a new audio experience I knew I had to listen in. Read on for a full review of “Calls” on Apple TV Plus!
WHAT IS CALLS?
“Calls” is a groundbreaking, immersive television experience that masterfully uses audio and minimal abstract visuals to tell nine bone-chilling, short-form stories. Directed by Fede Álvarez (“Don’t Breathe”), each episode follows a darkly dramatic mystery that unfolds through a series of seemingly average, unconnected phone calls that quickly become surreal as the characters face growingly unsettling experiences.
Streaming on Apple TV Plus starting March 19, 2021, “Calls” series of phone calls that describe a strange world event through the voices of several random people. Reminiscent of a podcast, Apple describes this as a thrilling mystery series and “Calls” is a series of 9 episodes that range from 13-21 minutes long. Each episode is paired with visual that show what character is speaking along with audio lines that match the pitches of the voices.
It’s not clear right away what’s going on in this particular world and multi-verse. The first episode “The End” reminded me of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, when three people communicate with each other over the phone from across the country. As the episode goes on each character begins experiences strange happenings like seeing each other in person (weird because they are all across the country from each other) while still having a conversation on the phone.
The second episode “The Beginning” is easily one of the most disturbing. When a man hits the road after finding out his girlfriend is pregnant, he tells himself it’s only because he needs temporary space. He reveals he never wanted to be a father and as he drives along the highway, time almost accelerates and his communication with family members reveals he has been missing for years, not just a mere hour.
I think “Calls” opens up some really interesting conversations about changing the course of a life or even what fate is. For instance in the episode “Mom” a young woman works with her brother to prevent her mother from dying in a car accident, only to find that this act completely changes her families life in a different way. Hearing her mom literally disintegrating into nothing while her brother watches really made the goosebumps raise on my arms. It begs the question, if you could change the future would you do so, especially if it made someone else suffer even more than you would have originally?
My favorite episode was Pedro from across the street. In it, Pedro Pascal (an absolute delight) convinces his neighbor Patrick to remove a bag of cash from his home. A dramatic situation unfolds when the neighbor realizes that his girlfriend and Pedro had an affair and he has to make a decision, return the cash or leave with millions of dollars.
I didn’t expect that I’d be laughing and simultaneously creeped out by this show. Because I had to carefully listen to get the entirety of the story, “Calls” made me much more invested in figuring out what exactly was going on. Almost every episode descends into panic but instead of being stressed I was truly taking notes to see if I could figure WHERE in the timeline I was. While “Calls” plucks some ideas from other thrillers, the star studded cast really makes this series one to listen to.
CAST OF CALLS
The stellar cast assembled to bring this Apple Original series of eerie conversations to life includes Nicholas Braun (“Succession”), Clancy Brown (“The Shawshank Redemption”), Lily Collins (“Emily in Paris”), Rosario Dawson (“Jane the Virgin”), Mark Duplass (“The Morning Show”), Karen Gillan (“Avengers: Endgame”), Judy Greer (“Halloween”), Paul Walter Hauser (“Cobra Kai”), Danny Huston (“Children of Men”), Nick Jonas (“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”), Riley Keough (“The Girlfriend Experience”), Joey King (“The Act”), Stephen Lang (“Avatar”), Jaeden Martell (“Defending Jacob”), Paola Nuñez (“Bad Boys for Life”), Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian”), Edi Patterson (“The Righteous Gemstones”), Aubrey Plaza (“Parks and Recreation”), Danny Pudi (“Mythic Quest”), Ben Schwartz (“House of Lies”), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (“Tenet”) and Jennifer Tilly (“Family Guy”).