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Netflix Pick: Gamers Answer ‘The Call Up’ (2016)

The Call Up is a 2016 sci-fi action thriller about a group of online gamers who are invited to try a state-of-the-art virtual reality video game but things take a turn for the sinister when these masters of the shoot ’em up discover they will literally be fighting for their lives.

Today’s Netflix Pick is an independent thriller that is one gamers are probably most going to appreciate though it has plenty of good twists for sci-fans as well. Starring a group of mostly unknowns, this is a flawed but worthy little gem that features good visual effects and a pretty compelling story. It’s The Call Up and it’s what you’re watching tonight. Here’s why.

READ MORE: Our review of the sci-fi thriller The Call Up

THE STORY: Written and directed by Charles Barker, the story is really rather simple, following a small group of online gamers who are invited to a special top secret location to take part in the latest, most advanced VR gaming experience ever created. They don special hi-tech outfits and helmets that when worn, drastically change the environment and what they feel. Equipped with unique weapons, they are introduced to the program via a hard-ass drill sergeant-like character and sent into ‘battle’ though once inside, things take a dark turn and virtual reality bleeds into very real reality.

The Call Up
The Call Up, 2016 © Red & Black Films

WHY YOU NEED TO WATCH: I wasn’t kidding when I said this is one gamers would like most. Everything about it feels like it was ripped from a video game playthrough, including the cutscenes and NPCs (non-playable characters). The thing the movie does best in fact, is make these gamers more authentic than most iterations of gamers in movies, something screenwriters still think they need to poke shots at, even while most everyone plays some kind of game now. Sure, this is not a big-budget blockbuster and is limited by such, but it has a great story and some pretty good performances, not to mention plenty of solid effects. Movies like this get dismissed far too quickly, lacking the high polish of a big studio, and it’s too bad because they can be really entertaining if given the chance. Do yourself a favor and give this one that chance. It’s streaming on Netflix right now.

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