The Call Up (2016) | Inventive thrills make this Brit indie sci-fi a winner
Are You Tough Enough to Play?
When eight elite online gamers are invited to beta-test a fully immersive virtual reality game on the 25th-floor of a New York City office tower, it’s an offer too good to resist. Donning hi-tech armour and helmet, the group step into the game, which puts them in the middle of a war zone that’s frighteningly realistic. But events take a sinister turn when the group discover that their helmets emit a deadly sonic shock if they try to leave the game…
With heaps of imagination, a handful of up-and-coming talent, and a just few rooms in an office block (in London and Birmingham) to play with, first-time director Charles Barker and his tech savvy production team have cooked up a smart British indie sci-fi with a nightmare scenario that grips you until the final explosive level.
Having worked in the gaming industry, Barker’s concept is pure gaming nirvana. It also gives him the opportunity to explore what happens when you take a group of loners, socially inept nerds and online obsessives out of their comfort zone and put them into a real-life survival situation.
The motley group includes grieving Carl (Max Deacon), sharp-shooting ex-soldier Andre (Parker Sawyers), nerdy Adam (Douggie McMeekin), apologetic ‘T3rrorist#1’ Zahid (Boris Ler), City boy narcissist ‘DaChief’ Ed (Ali Cook), macho ‘I like to kill shit’ Marco (Tom Benedict Knight), tomboy goth Shelly (Morfydd Clark), and ‘Slayer Girl’ Taylor (Adriana Randall).
As expected, the body bags at the ready as, one-by-one, our gamers fall foul of the loaded game, which only serves to highlight a very important message that ‘war’ is not a game and should be treated with respect. The big pay off, meanwhile, is a sly dig at the big soulless corporations who are manipulating our morals while insidiously taking control of our lives and our leisure pursuits.
Looking way more expensive than it ought to, and boasting a cool Carpenter-esque score, this intelligent Brit sci-fi is a winner.
The Call Up is out on DVD and digital download in the UK from Altitude Film Distibution, and gets it’s US cinema release on 24 June
Posted on June 11, 2016, in British Film, Might See, Might-See, Sci-Fi and tagged 2010s sci-fi, 2016 British sci-fi, British, Charles Barker, Max Deacon, Morfydd Clark, Sci-Fi, The Call Up. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.