[Series Review] CALLS
CALLS l Courtesy of Apple TV+
Have you ever felt like you’ve experienced a glitch in reality? A small tear in the fabric of the universe? Have you experienced an intense episode of déjà vu or maybe even a temporary fugue state where you lost minutes or hours and cannot for the life of you recall anything that happened during that time?

Luckily, most of the time, these experiences can be explained away. You’re stressed out, your meds are interacting in a strange way…it’s all in your head.

But what if it isn’t?

Apple TV+’s new series CALLS explores the delicate nature of the balance of our universe and the absolute chaos that can occur if we disrupt that balance. The series is presented through nine interlocking short episodes, each employing various themes in the science fiction and horror genres: time loss, dopplegängers, body horror, multiverses, etc. It’s engaging, and intense, and thought-provoking.

It’s also entirely auditory.

CALLS is, well, so-called because the format of the series is that of recorded phone conversations. There are no visuals, save for the subtitles and some minimalist graphics. CALLS relies on solid scripts and superior voice acting to depict each story to its fullest potential, rather than special and practical effects. And this format absolutely works.

Because we, as the audience (or perhaps as eavesdroppers, as the case seems to be) are only able to hear each story played out through fragmented, glitchy, and increasingly frantic dialogue, we must visualize the action ourselves—which makes each episode terrifying. After all, what can frighten us better than our own imaginations?

It’s an added bonus that because of the format of the series, a combination of audio and an exact transcription of it, CALLS is suitable for audience members who are either Blind/ Visually Impaired or Deaf/ Hard of Hearing.

CALLS harkens back to the radio dramas that were popular during the early-to-mid Twentieth Century, particularly a little 1938 broadcast called The War of the Worlds, directed by Orson Welles and written by Howard Koch (who was blacklisted by Hollywood in 1951 for his alleged Communist views).

The series was created by Timothée Hochet, directed by Fede Álverez (The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Don’t Breathe), and produced by Apple TV + and Canal+. The cast, heard and never seen, is star-studded and includes familiar names such as Aubrey Plaza (Black Bear, “Parks and Recreation”), Rosario Dawson (Sin City, Alexander), Nick Jonas (Chaos Walking, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), Lily Collins (“Emily in Paris”, Mank), Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian“, “Narcos”) and more.

This series is a must-see (er, hear) for anyone who’s a fan of apocalyptic and chaotic science fiction that will leave you gripping the edge of your seat.

CALLS drops this Friday, March 19th, 2021 on Apple TV+. Be sure to tune into the madness—you won’t want to miss this.

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