There are probably stranger, scarier things in the universe than a mystery woman from the past who can cross the space-time continuum to obsessively call your home telephone for hours and days and weeks on end. But the idea is plenty creepy as the premise of “The Caller,” director Matthew Parkhill’s indie thriller starring “Twilight” villainess Rachelle Lefevre and “True Blood” vamp Stephen Moyer.
In “The Caller,” Puerto Rico resident Mary Kee (Lefevre) moves into a new home following a nasty separation from her abusive husband (“Eureka’s” Ed Quinn), only to find an even more harrowing nemesis in Rose (Lorna Raver), an unhinged and disgruntled woman living in the late 1970s. Rose somehow has the ability to call Mary’s new phone number some 30 years into the future, a seemingly impossible sci-fi feat that leaves our protagonist skeptical, frustrated and frightened in turns. When Mary’s patience for Rose’s hysteria wears thin, she learns the hard lesson that scorning a deranged woman who lives in the past can be hazardous for your health.
Though it boasts a sinister plot, it was actually the behind-the-scenes mysteries that raised the hair on the backs of the “Caller” cast and crew’s necks throughout the film’s 23-day shoot.
“Sometimes a shoot will take on its own energy,” Moyer, who plays Mary’s love interest and resident time-travel expert John Guidi, told MTV News. “Every day, something was happening. Things were breaking, film missing, scratches on necks … it just became this regular occurrence. Even after I left the shoot, me and Matthew and Rachelle would speak regularly, and there would be bits and pieces happening on a regular basis: phone calls coming in from people, literally prank phone calls. It was an odd, odd thing.”
Parkhill said that screenwriter Sergio Casci was convinced there was a “curse of ‘The Caller.’ ” But the director doesn’t much believe in curses himself, though even he admitted to “weird” and “unsettling” occurrences.
“We dressed Mary’s living room with these old National Geographic magazines, and one of them fell open to this page where there were three corpses hanging in this old room, that were identical to the three corpses hanging in our pantry,” said Parkhill, referring to a trio of bodies that play a pivotal role in the horror film. “Then when we were shooting in a supermarket, we moved one of the supermarket shelves and there was an old bottle of perfume that had cracked which was labeled ‘Rose,’ which is [the name of the film's villain].”
In the end, none of these eerie events was powerful enough to derail production on “The Caller,” which opens in limited release on Friday (August 26). But that doesn’t mean that the alleged curse of “The Caller” doesn’t still rear its head from time to time. The press junket held in San Juan earlier this week just so happened to coincide with the presence of Hurricane Irene in Puerto Rico, a threat that is now storming its way up the East Coast. As a result of the storm, certain parts of Puerto Rico — including the hotel that housed the “Caller” cast and crew for the week — were left almost entirely without power for multiple days.
“It feels particularly fitting that we’re in the middle of a hurricane,” Moyer told MTV with a grin. “There’s no power. Last night, after we all left the bar, we had to go back to [our rooms] with flashlights. It’s literally pitch black in the hotel. You’ve just watched a horror film, which is pretty scary, and you’re going into your room with a flashlight and you can’t see anything. I think all of us went through some moments last night thinking, ‘This is it. My time is up! Somebody’s going to jump out of the cupboard!’ ”
Check out everything we’ve got on “The Caller.”
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