Friday 20 May 2016

"The Call Up" (Guardian 20/05/16)

The Call Up ***
Dir: Charles Barker. With: Morfydd Clark, Max Deacon, Ali Cook, Tom Benedict Knight. 90 mins. Cert: 15

With the IMAX-scaled Warcraft inbound, this lowish-budget Brit attempt to replicate gaming’s immersive properties – stalking nerds around an of-course-mysterious corporation’s wipe-clean HQ while they beta-test a VR shoot-‘em-up – risks looking a touch Amstrad-like, yet it’s been capably produced. Writer-director Charles Barker may cleave to a dusty old slasher-pic template – most evident in the identities of the first to die and last player standing – but he hustles everybody briskly between levels, sending his industrious design team ahead of him to redress a presumably limited number of sets. If it’s far from bleeding edge – within days, it’ll look as dated as Tron and The Lawnmower Man do today – it’s a modest upgrade on all those killer website movies that popped up a decade ago, keeping us at least semi-interested as to who stands and falls. It’ll fill a slot, if your Xbox connection is down and you felt inspired to quit the sofa. 

The Call Up opens in selected cinemas today, ahead of its DVD release on Monday.

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