Sunday 16 September 2012
DVD review: Don't Answer the Phone (1980)
A Vietnam veteran/photographer (Nicholas Worth) terrorizes Los Angeles by going around strangling young women in their homes while taunting psychologist Lindsay Gale (Flo Gerrish) by calling her radio call-in show to describe his mysogynistic ways. meanwhile, police detectives are close behind the psycho hoping he´ll slip up and make a mistake. Don't Answer the Phone is written by Michael D. Castle and Robert Hammer who also is the director. The acting is okay but the bulky, menacing Nicholas Worth does a pretty good job. We know all along that he's the maniac as they show who the killer is from the beginning, this flick has some similarities to William Lustig´s classic Maniac (1980) but this can't compete with it. I love the look of the flick, it´s nicely shot and edited and in parts made "guerilla style" without the necessary permits and so on. The soundtrack is very good and effective. There is no real suspense in this, partly due to the fact that the killer is known to the viewer from the start.There is some intentional comedy and slapstick, comic relief, that almost ruins the flick for me. While it´s pretty violent but it´s actually quite tame and there is only brief gore in the form of some squibs, this due to the fact that our killer chooses to strangle his victims BEFORE raping them. Most of the violence is off-screen but we do get clues regarding the killers modus operandi through the dialogue spoken. There is gratuitous nudity, plenty of topless nudity on display, provided by various actresses.
This review is based upon the region 1 DVD released by BCI video.
Rating: 5 out of 7. Don't Answer the Phone has a pretty nasty, gritty and sleazy vibe to it but in some parts it is kind of disappointing and it has got a sleazy reputation that it in my opinion it doesn't really deserve. The attempts at comic relief are cringe-worthy. In my opinion Don't Answer the Phone would have been better and nastier with a consistent gritty tone and perhaps a little bit more graphic violence.