Review: The Call Up, Virtual Reality Never Felt so Real.

If you enjoy the thrills and excitement of gaming, put on your VR headset and get ready to take an unsettling ride in The Call Up.

Beta testing for new games is like getting an inside scoop to a coveted trade secret. Not only are you super excited to play a potentially awesome game, but you’re also experiencing something that the general population probably won’t be aware of for awhile. Seven strangers receive an invite to test out a new Virtual Reality game, and the only thing they seem to have in common is the fact that they all enjoy first person shooters. The other incentive for signing up for the Beta test is the grand prize of $100,000 to the person who has the most points. To their surprise the feelings of pain in the game are also felt in reality and they quickly find themselves fighting for their lives.

Unlike similar films, you won’t really get attached to any of the characters. You simply don’t have enough time to form a bond with them because the action starts fairly quickly. I felt like I was on edge from the moment they put on their stylish bodysuits/armor until the game ended and the winner was crowned.

The script managed to touch on important topics such as gamer tags, personas online, valuable teamwork and most importantly the perception of people of color in games. It also allows the viewer to take an intrinsic look of what it means to be a gamer in a violent setting and attempting to apply the same tact in real life – many simply can’t.

By this film having no A list actors, it granted the audience a rare opportunity to appreciate the film at face value. The small budget for this film didn’t limit its aesthetic quality nor each actors ability to adequately portray their roles. Str8 Shoot3r (Parker Sawyers), and T3rrorist#1 (Boris Ler), reeled in the audience with their presence and motivated the viewer to keep watching.

I’ve been lucky enough to find other films and media that focus on gaming in different ways. If you enjoyed Black Mirror’s Playtest (season 3, episode 2) you’ll definitely enjoy this. This film took cues from games like Call of Duty, Halo, and Battlefield; if you enjoyed those, you’ll enjoy this movie.


Netflix Rating 2/5

My Rating 4/5

Author: Alexandria Brown

Alexandria Brown is a film aficionado with a love for all things pop culture. Favorite genres include Sci-Fi, Rom Com’s & Classic Comedies. Alexandria obtained her BA in Sociology and is currently continuing her education in Educational Administration while residing in Chicago, Illinois.