Friday, April 30, 2021

Calls on Apple TV+ Is A Suspenseful Binge-worthy Audio Drama

Think of binge-worthy shows, and you might never have imagined an audio drama to be one of these. As highly visual creatures, we tend to focus on colours or dramatic action through imagery.

With CALLS, currently available on the streaming service Apple TV+, audiences are transported back to the days of radio drama. In each of the 9 episodes, you feel like an eavesdropper to intimate conversations, and what you hear is even creepier than what might see. Your wild imagination tends to take over, adding to the weird visceral experience of this horror-scifi audio series.

Fede Álvarez, the director of Apple TV+'s English version, employs minimal but highly effective graphics. As the conversations play out, they are accompanied by lines, bubbles or waves depicting the mood of the dialogues. The visual cues also helping the audiences to orient themselves by depicting the connections between the parties involved.

CALLS is an adaptation of a French audio show of the same name by Timothée Hochet. The suspenseful French series was first aired on Canal+ in December 2017, and the third season was recently released in December 2020.

The show also employs the fantastic voice acting skills of a star-studded cast that includes Pedro Pascal, Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Rosario Dawson, Jennifer Tilly, Judy Greer and Nick Jonas. In the light of the situation with Covid-19 when most film productions have halted, CALLS is an unconventional way to continue bringing compelling stories to audiences around the world.

The first episode about a long distance relationship, and teasingly entitled “THE END”, sets up the mystery about a strange supernatural occurrence. The next couple of conversations seem unconnected to each other, but as you listen to more nailbiting episodes, it becomes clear that something apocalyptic is happening to the universe. And it is terrifying.

Red Dot Diva could feel her hair stand up at the back of her neck while listening to a few of these episodes. The middle ones are particularly chilling, especially the one that involves a Mom. (Mothers can be scary, OK??!)

Seriously. Talk about heebie-jeebies. And the fear!

The curiousity is also what will keep you clicking on to the next episode till the end. Each episode is about 15 minutes without the credits, so it would take you only about 2.5 hours to get through the entire series.

Warning though - after watching CALLS, you might feel very wary about taking your next phone call.

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