The Caller (1987)

From Television and Film Character Encyclopedia

Two people play mind games over the course of a few days.





The Caller - Malcolm McDowell

The Girl - Madolyn Smith

Character thumbnails with links to profiles

Detailed Synopsis

Someone raises an axe and then swings it down next to a photo of a woman. The Girl leaves the grocery store as The Caller watches her from a phone booth. She stops to get gas and calls out for an attendant, but no one answers. As she is driving home, she passes an abandoned car on the side of the road and finds a cut up doll in the glove box. After she parks her vehicle, she pulls a box from the back of it which has a leaking red substance. She works out on an exercise bicycle and as she is walking in her hallway, passes a series of framed photos, including one of her and her husband's wedding and one of her playing with her daughter. She takes a shower and afterward senses something as The Caller watches her from outside the window. She calls on the phone and asks to speak to her daughter, Alison. She asks if the caretakers are treating her like a human being and feeding her adequately and promises Alison that she will be proud of her. The Girl checks on the meal she is cooking and then goes into the garage and finds one of the tires of her vehicle flat and a broken Coke bottle behind it. As she reenters the house, The Caller walks out from the shadows and then takes the keys to her vehicle from the ignition. The Caller knocks on her door and when she answers it, she tells him she thought he was someone she was expecting. He asks to use her telephone and tells her his car is broken down. She lets him in and he tells her the storm is getting closer. He notices she is shivering and she notices he doesn't seem to feel the cold. She points out an inconsistency in his story concerning how the tire blew. He uses the phone and she asks how he knew the right number to call without looking it up. She also asks him how he knew the address since the sign was down, and he tells her someone must have put it back up.

He goes outside to wait for the tow truck and she tells him he can wait inside. She offers him a drink and he tells her he doesn't drink. The Caller starts asking The Girl questions about her living situation and life and she tells him she is going to be leaving soon which leads to a skeptical response from The Caller. He walks over to her fish tank and puts his hand in the tank and she tells him her husband gave them to her. She tells him she knows he has been following her, but he calls her delusional. He asks if she is waiting for her husband and when he notices she is trembling, she asks if he sweats and he tells her no. She starts to talk about murder and then tells him she could kill him and no one would know. She puts a knife to his throat and he takes the knife from her and starts to choke her, but releases her before she dies. He picks up a framed photo of a man that isn't her husband and theorizes her husband is dead. She tells him her husband died in the war. He asks her about her daughter and she tells him she is staying with people her own age. He asks how Alison took the news of her father's death and The Girl asks The Caller how he knew Alison's name. She brings up his accent and he says he is from London. She offers him a cigarette, but he doesn't accept it. He goes into the dining room and notices she set a place for two, like she was expecting him. He leaves and she sees one of the fish have died. She goes into the garage and pulls a handgun from a trunk, but the magazine is empty, and outside, The Caller drops the bullets he stole from The Girl.

The next day, The Caller almost runs into The Girl with his car. He helps her to her car and she wonders how he knew which one was hers out of all the others. They take a drive in his car and he speeds along the curvy mountain road. He pulls over and The Caller takes The Girl's photograph. She tells him she wants to take his photograph and she positions him in a certain spot and afterwards takes the film out of the camera. He drives her back to her vehicle and later, goes back to her house as she is developing the film. She looks at one photo in particular of a compound. She catches The Caller looking at slides of her family and she asks him about London. She mentions visiting London and then points out he is a liar when he gets locations in London wrong. He suggests he might be a cop and asks about her husband, Bill, and she mentions that she never told him what her husband's name was. He asks to use her bathroom and she grabs an axe from the garage and hides it next to the fridge. She catches him in Alison's bedroom as he is holding the box with the leaking substance. He points out the room hasn't been lived in for a long time. He opens the closet door and inside is a doll hanging from a noose. He tells her, he doesn't think Alison will ever come back to the room and The Girl yells at him to get out. He notices she is shivering and tells her nothing will happen that night. She asks him to stay and hugs him and she admits she wanted him to come back. They kiss and The Girl tries to have sex with The Caller, but he pushes her away and tells her he can't do it. The Caller goes outside and finds a bear trap. Lightening strikes and starts the garage on fire as The Girl is inside and The Caller rescues her. He pulls out a wedding dress from the closet and tells her to put it on. She tries to attack him with the axe and knocks over the box with the leaking substance, revealing a birthday cake inside. The Caller accuses The Girl of murdering her husband, daughter and boyfriend. He tells her to use the phone, but the wire is cut. They go back to the kitchen where there are a large amount of pots with boiling water. The Caller points a crossbow at The Girl and fires a bolt at her and then leaves.

The next day, The Girl runs in the woods and checks her time on her watch. The Calller remarks about her running and she tells him not to follow her anymore and warns him that if she sees him again she will kill him. In the evening, The Girl sits in her rocking chair with her wedding dress on as The Caller sneaks into her house wearing a tuxedo. He invites her inside to celebrate. She points out that she knows he was the one to cut up the dolls as she found the one in his car. He tells her she is grounded and she points out all the mistakes he made. She mentions how she has been locked up for two years and how he was expressing spiteful emotions for making her think Alison might have been hanging in the closet. He tells her that he saved her so she could play the game for a long time to come. They count up the points The Girl has made during the game and The Caller gives her the photo from the woods and tells her he found it next to her boyfriend's body. He tells her, her boyfriend died while trying to escape and tells her to look in the fridge. She finds a hand in the fridge and he tells her the last point to 50 is to get past him. She shoots him in the leg, and The Caller starts to electrocute himself when he grabs a broken wire. The Girl throws a pot of boiling water on The Caller and part of him melts away revealing him to be a robot. She asks him how many other people are left and he tells her thousands along with their children, who are also part of the experiment. Before shutting down he tells her she will never escape. The Girl runs out into the woods and notices a red mist go away. As she is running she hears a girl's voice calling for her and goes back to the house and the red mist returns. A new The Caller appears and she comes to the realization that she has been tricked. He tells her, he is an improved unit and he brings her back to the house to start the game all over again.