4.5 out of 10

Release Date: 20th May 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Charles Barker

Cast: Morfydd Clark, Max Deacon, Tom Benedict Knight, Douggie McMeekin, Adriana Randall, Parker Sawyers, Ali Cook, Boris Ler and Chris Obi

Writer: Charles Barker

Trailer: THE CALL UP


A sturdy debut from director Charles Barker marks him out as one to watch. This guy has clearly got his eye on directing the next Hunger Games or Maze Runner equivalent because this has all the same beats and directorial flourishes as any one of the big budget young adult sci-fis that has done the rounds over the last few years. The only downside to The Call-Up is that all of its parts are cloned. Sci-fi as anybody knows thrives on fresh ideas and originality, The Call- Up is running on empty.

What saves it is a a game cast (complete with fake American accents) and some very robust special effects. The script has some clunkers but it’s not ‘James Cameron bad’.  The plot unfortunately runs around in circles as the cast get whittled down, and it all amounts to precious little with a vague and unconvincing denouement. It’s almost as if the writer felt he owed the audience something more than a shoot ’em up, but that’s all anybody who’s sat down to watch this is expecting.

8 gamers get invited to compete in a combat virtual reality game. Once in their simulation suits they slowly begin to realise that they are trapped and that the bullets being fired around really will kill them. What does the corporation want from them? How come all gamers are loners? SPOILERHow come it’s always the Black guy (PARKER SAWYERS – MONSTERS 2) that dies first?  Several familiar (from low-budget flicks) faces like Ali Cook (IN THE BLOOD) and Tom Benedict Knight (HE WHO DARES) are pretty good at putting some effort into cardboard cut out characters. Saying that though, the action and SFX are good for something this low-spec. The repetitive plot which seems them descend through levels of an abandoned tower block kills momentum, as does the constant need to have a character screaming for help after being shot at all times.

4.5 out of 10 It’s OK and watchable, just don’t expect any originality, good American accents or a good script and you’ll be ok. Frustratingly misses getting higher marks because it plays safe when a sci=fi should never do that.




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