Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Long Distance (2005)

Directed by Marcus Stern
Starring Monica Keena, Ivan Martin, Tamala Jones
Rated R

“I have a bad feeling about this.”

Monica Keena and her giant boobs star in this nifty little cat and mouse thriller. Nicole (Keena) is a shy, lonely grad school student living in Boston, who recently broke up with her live-in boyfriend. Late one night, she dials a wrong number and ends up talking to a clearly unhinged fellow who asks a lot of personal questions. At first, she's amused by his forward manner, but she quickly gets the creeps, especially after he calls back a few times in the middle of the night.

One day a detective, Frank (Ivan Martin), shows up out of nowhere and tells her that the guy who called her a bunch of times was in the middle of killing some chick in Nevada. Yikes!

Of course, he calls back to taunt her some more. She star-69's him when he hangs up and she gets a woman on the phone. Nicole tries to warn her that there's a marauder in her house, but she thinks it's a prank, and then you hear the sounds of rampant marauding. Then she calls the detective, who rushes right over.  They find out that bloody mayhem did, in fact, ensue at that number, a home in Colorado this time.

The next morning, the cops tap her phone. Nicole sits around flirting with the detective until he calls again. This time he kills a chick in Nebraska and makes her listen to it. She's supposed to stay on the phone for five minutes so the cops can nab him in the act, but she hangs up and pukes before they catch him. Stupid Nicole!

A no-nonsense FBI agent, Margaret Wright (Tamala Jones) shows up and shows Frank and Nicole a map, marking off this maniac's kills. He's clearly headed her way. He even sends her a postcard – written in blood! - from Utah, the next state along the road to Boston.

Marge decides to hang around, too. Nicole's apartment is getting pretty crowded at this point.

One night Frank accidentally blows Nicole's fuses with his microwave antics, and while he's downstairs trying to get the lights back on...you get where this is going, right? Next thing you know, the psycho on the phone is also the psycho at Nicole's front door...

As you might expect from a phone-centric 80's style he's-calling-from-inside-the-house pseudo-slasher, Long Distance comes complete with a surprise twist (although, I mean, how many different ways can something like this end? You'll probably see it coming). It's also got razor-sharp camerawork with lots of popping colors, a lean, economical script, a few dashes of subtle humor, and a doomed-but-pleasant love story.  Sure, Monica's gloppy lipstick is a little distracting – and she wears sweatpants through the whole movie – but all in all, Long Distance is a pretty effective low-budget psychoflick.

Also, if you like Monica Keena's face, you're in luck, because literally 90% of the movie is Keena close-ups. Woulda been nice if Stern threw some up-close cleavage into the mix, too, but that's life.

- Ken McIntyre

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