Plot: An experimental psychology course has lured in a number of students, as it promises a Master’s Degree for completion. That is a massive reward and of course, those who sign up are well aware that likely means the course itself will be more strenuous than normal. But that doesn’t stop a host of interested students to sign up, including Miles (James Duval), Dale (Denny Kirkwood), and Noah (Nathan Bexton), who see the course as a one in a lifetime chance at a fast track. As soon as the experiments begin however, some of the students have second thoughts, as the course is centered on not only observing brain activity, but searching for ways to control it. This means mind control is the objective and of course, this presents an ethical concern for some and while some remain, things only spiral downward from there. As it becomes clear this is not just an experimental program but some kind of horrific witch hunt, can any of the students survive or at least reveal the truth?
Entertainment Value: This is an interesting movie, as it isn’t one I’d want to revisit or that I liked that much, but Caller ID: Entity held my attention and had a unique, almost experimental approach that resonated at times. There is a certain conspiracy theory, paranoia laced texture to the movie and as it spirals out of control, the tension rises and that texture deepens. The narrative is a little convoluted to start with and then just descends into a kind of chaos, but I think the more zonked out the story gets, the more watchable the movie becomes. The tone is just all over the place, especially once the ball really starts to roll, but the strange phone messages kind of send it all over the place, even in the more coherent moments. These calls are supposed to be based on actual messages, but who knows about that. I do think they add a creepiness to the film and ramp up the paranoia vibes, so they’re effective. In the end, Caller ID: Entity might not have been a movie I connected with or was all that entertained by, but it made an impression and I appreciated the offbeat approach. Fans of conspiracy theory inspired cinema might want to check this one out.
The cast of this movie includes some fairly known talents, though their performances are kind of limited by the nature of the material. Denny Kirkwood has a nice descent into paranoia and madness, but no one is given enough time or development to really be able to deliver a memorable effort. Kirkwood’s mania is likely the standout just because he runs with what little room he is allowed, while James Duval has what is the best by more normal thespian standards. He takes the role seriously and tries to be sincere, despite the various oddities around his character. Nathan Bexton and Elissa Dowling are also likely to draw in some curious viewers, while John Cho has a very, very small role, despite being a prominent part of the promotional efforts. So if you’re only interested for his presence, his blink and you’ll miss it role is certain to disappoint. The cast also includes Peter Greene and Jennifer Field.