Over the last year, Director Todd Sheets (House of Forbidden Secrets 2013 – read our review here) and his folks over at Extreme Entertainment have been cooking up their next installment of gore and mayhem in secret. Just announced is Final Caller, which promises to give Sheets fans a throwback to his early work with a modern feel. And we got our hands on it first! So, what did we think?
Shock jock Roland Bennett (Douglas Epps: Clownado 2019 – read our review here) spends the overnights at KDAM FM, unapologetically insulting and irritating listeners with his angry, jaded rants. His personal life suffers at the hands of his attitude since his wife, Claire (Jane Plumberg: Bonehill Road 2017 – read our review here), shows up at the station to serve him with the divorce papers he has been evading. His producer, Jessica (Rachel Lagen: Crave: Roots of Evil 2020), seems to be the only person in his life who actually likes him, as even the sound engineer, Jason (Alex Brotherton: Zombie Rampage 2018), grits his teeth every time Roland opens his mouth.
On this particular night, Jessica tells Roland that the “big boss” is listening, which makes his blood-pressure-increasing personality jump to new levels. So Roland goes on the air with more added stress, his soon-to-be-ex wife, and an unexpected caller identified as The Outsider (Jack McCord: Hi-Death 2018). The Outsider claims to be holding a woman hostage with the intent to kill her. Of course, Roland dismisses this as another frat boy prank and hangs up on the caller; however, this call is indeed real, and the woman’s life does depend on Roland’s attitude and actions.
As the night continues, so do the calls from The Outsider, who seems to be actually murdering his victims while on the air. Jessica, Jason, and Claire take the situation much more seriously than Roland; they call the police, who send a detective (Antwoine Steele: The Embalmers 2021) to the station to investigate. The group, along with an inattentive security guard (Dilynn Fawn Harvey: Dreaming Purple Neon 2016 – read our review here), discover that they are all in imminent danger from this disgruntled listener.
Final Caller delivers on what fans would expect from a Todd Sheets film: LOTS of closeups of blood, guts, and evisceration, along with gooey, squishy sound effects from Extreme Entertainment regulars Amanda Payton, Sheila Brandon-Allen, and Annalee Mae Dorsey. The score from Matt “Lapses” Cannon (Spirit Animal 2020 – read our review here) is a fantastic compliment to Sheets’ usual ambiance. What is different from other recent films from the filmmaker is that the focus is on a tightly woven story.
He is truly revisiting his early roots with a small cast, microscopic budget (around $500!), minimal locations, and simplicity of an intriguing narrative. For as wild and wonderful Bonehill Road and Clownado are, Final Caller draws back to his roots of the glory days of SOV.
The crew began shooting Final Caller before COVID-19 and were able to carefully finish the minimalist film during the early parts of the pandemic. Created by a group of people solely out of love for the genre and the content, this film is something that we NEED in 2020—the reminder that creativity is still abound in indie horror, despite the trials this year has dished out for all of us.
Final Caller is expected to be released this fall by Extreme Entertainment.