Calls is based on a French series of the same name, which has aired across 12 episodes so far between 2017 and 2020.
Apple TV+’s version numbers 9 episodes so far, for which each episode is surprisingly short, each averaging between 15-20 minutes, and which has a stellar cast with a lot of very well-known faces… except that you can’t see any of them because you’re hearing the voice only.
The first episode in this series, which features Nicholas Braun, Lily Collins (Emily In Paris) and Karen Gillan (above in more usual guises in Avengers: Endgame and Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle), is called The End. It’s December 30th, and we’re hearing call between Tim and Sara, from Los Angeles to New York. Tim moved over there, after being sure a long-distance relationship could still work, but then Sara’s line cuts off just as she thinks there’s a strange man outside…
Some weird stuff starts happening, separately between the two situations, but only reveals its hand in the final moments, and I didn’t see (or hear) the ending coming.
Meanwhile, episode 2 – The Beginning – goes back to February 9th, in Phoenix.
Mark’s girlfriend, Johanna, is pregnant, even though they agreed not to have kids, but then his mum thinks she’s been pregnant for four months, not four weeks. Then, more weird stuff starts happening…
Without giving spoilers, this one didn’t have as satisfying conclusion as the first, but then I guess some of these will conclude in a more open-ended style than others.
As a series, Calls sort-of plays out like a radio drama – since you don’t see any of the actual cast members, but instead, in the first episode, just a single line on screen which reverberates as those on the line talk, these graphics sometimes changing as the audio changes, on occasion with interference on the lines, but also with other depictions – and since the actors have only had to record their voice rather than appear on camera, it’s one way of making a drama in a lockdown situation. However, it also has a visual side in the way that not only the phone line signals, but also the way various computer graphics play a part. Hence, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.
At the point of posting this, so far, I’ve only seen the first two episodes, and while I can’t really give a score out of 10 because they’re so sort, they’re definitely intriguing and I will check out more.
Calls is on Apple TV+ from Friday March 19th, but isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
Check out the trailer below:
Running time: 15-20 minutes approx per episode
Release date: March 19th 2021
Studio: Apple TV+
Director: Fede Alvarez
Producer: Aaron Greenberg
Writer: Fede Alvarez
Original series creator: Timothée Hochet
Music: The Haxan Cloak
Episode 1 Cast:
Tim: Nicholas Braun
Camilla: Karen Gillan
Sara: Lily Collins
911 LA: Nika Futterman
NYPD: Matthew Lauria
911 NY: Salli Saffioti
Episode 2 Cast:
Mark: Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Rose: Riley Keough
Andy: Ben Schwartz
Mother: Jennifer Tilly
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