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The Call Up on VOD and DVD

Tuesday, 31 May 2016 23:00 Written by 

The Call Up -out now on DVD and VODA select group of video gamers is lured to an imposing skyscraper by the opportunity to win £100,000 in a virtual reality competition. Donning state of the art haptic body suits and head sets, the players are enrolled in a military shooter featuring 25 floors of increasingly difficult challenges. If they get shot in the game the players can instantly be healed by a med-pack, but the pain will feel real. Playing online from your couch is one thing; this is real warfare.

Written and directed by Charles Barker, the film stars Morfydd Clark (“Love & Friendship”), Parker Sawyers (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Max Deacon (“Into the Storm”), Tom Benedict Knight (“Kick-Ass 2”), Ali Cook (“The Anomaly”), Adriana Randall (“Triple 9”) and Douggie McMeekin as the gamers, with Chris Obi (“Snow White and the Huntsman”) as a very scary drill Sergeant. The producers have been involved with movies such as “The Machine”, “Monsters: Dark Continent” and “Dracula Untold”.

Reminiscent of “The Cube”, this SF thriller takes a tried and tested formula and succeeds in delivering quite an edgy, sinister experience. The premise is simple: Throw together a bunch of strangers, make them feel safe and superior and then pull the rug from under them to find the true heroes and villains.

Presumably shot on quite a conservative budget, for the most part the movie remains visually interesting by contrasting the real, gleaming skyscraper rooms and corridors with the grimy, crumbling interiors of the VR world. From an action point of view, the gunplay is unadventurous but it certainly sounds meaty, and the splintering boxes and bullet-strewn walls convey the danger.

The acting is average for the genre, which is to say perfectly acceptable. The arcs of the characters, typically either descending from cocky to whimpering, or rising from meek to heroic are gradual and fairly believable, if slightly telegraphed.

“The Call Up” is a tense, claustrophobic tale with a relatively predictable plot and a confident style that means you probably will not regret spending 90 minutes in its company.

It is not clear if the DVD version includes any special features.

“The Call Up” (2016) is out now on video on demand and DVD, courtesy of Altitude Film Distribution. The main feature has a running time of 90 minutes approx., carries a ‘15’ certificate and retails for £3.49 upwards on VOD, £12.99 on DVD, or less from