"Floyd, I saw you walk to the door."
"Darlene, you must leave quickly-the person outside is not me."
"What's the matter? How could you be outside again while talking to me at the same time?"
"Darlene, trust me, don't open the door! Get out of the back door!"
——Imagine hearing this kind of call content in the middle of the night, is it quite awkward.
This is the line in the new horror series "Horrible Call" launched by Apple TV+, but it is different from the previous horror movies. The whole drama is presented only by sound, connected by telephone, and opened in the form of creation. A new possibility.
▲ The poster looks like a sound wave at a close distance, but a human face at a distance
However, it is not a radio drama. There will be a variety of abstract sound waves on the screen, constantly changing according to the actors, background sounds, and plot, presenting impactful visual patterns.
Because many patterns look like mobile phone wallpapers, they are also dubbed "screensavers" by netizens.
But they may watch the show while joking, and can't laugh at it.
▲You can watch the trailer and feel it first
The first horror drama that only sees sound waves but not people
Just like watching horror movies, the most scary thing is often the sound.
The new Apple TV+ drama also takes the creepy sound to the extreme, and coupled with the emotionally fluctuating abstract images, it makes people feel quite immersive.
"Horrible Call" is adapted from the French series of the same name. There are 9 episodes in total. Each episode is a sci-fi horror story, all connected by different phone calls made by different people. The dialogue is very simple, but the amount of information is huge. Hear the truth.
The whole drama only relies on the dialogue of a few people to finish a multiverse plot about the destruction of the world.
If you dare to play like this, I'm afraid that only a snap of Thanos's finger.
[The following involves spoilers, you can skip to the second part of the article]
At the beginning of the plot, there is a sense of supernatural magic.
As soon as the phone rang, the heroine Sara received a call, and there was a squeaking sound in the background, like a tear in the throat of a zombie, and the radio waves in the picture began to fluctuate. When the hero Tim was about to break up with her, she said :
Someone… There seems to be someone in the backyard.
Next, Sara's panic and fear of calling the police, the monster started breaking in, and Tim received a call from Camila from a distance after a spring night with the third party Camila. At this moment, there is another Camila in the bedroom…
At this time Sara's phone was connected again, saying that the face of the mutant monster was Tim…
In the next few episodes, various weird incidents surfaced one by one on the phone.
Because of the influence of his native family, the actor in the second episode was unable to accept that his girlfriend was pregnant for a while. When he was driving away quietly on the road, he found that every time he received a phone call, his time only passed a few minutes, but the time of his family was. It is the passing of months and years.
When he hurried back on the way, his mother had passed away within a few minutes, his wife had remarried, and his son had grown up…
This is also the episode with the strongest sense of time and space. Different emotions brought by different human voices are intertwined with different visual effects.
When the protagonist and his wife do not understand each other, the picture spreads out like ripples on the surface of the river; when the protagonist is persuaded by his mother to go home, the ripples begin to spread out finer lines; when the protagonist and his brother explain the reason, The ripples became a snail-shell-like vortex sinking deeper and deeper, as if the truth became more and more blurred.
In the next few episodes, families began to experience different changes and accidents. Behind these accidents, their desires, greed, fear, attachment, regret, and courage continued to emerge with the changes.
This is also the reason why a fictional story that only hears sounds and sees sound waves makes people feel convinced.
Because the director cleverly made their every word in the crisis connect with our true feelings.
It was not until the fifth episode that these people were found to be in a common chaotic world of time and space. They all wanted to call someone at another time to change the future.
Of course, everything is in vain.
If you don’t die when your fate is supposed to die, it will disrupt the order of the universe, causing self-destruction and the death of people around you.
In the last two episodes of the play, the plot reached its climax and the visual effects became extremely diverse.
From the mountain-like triangle body began to burst into blood, to the river-like waves began to roll violently, lightning-like green currents began to surge…
In the eighth episode, the scientists already knew the truth behind the scenes. The hundreds of people who were supposed to crash also learned through the phone that they were about to die, but the scientists forced them not to change the reality, and the plane that should crash must crash.
At this time, the space distortion has been extremely serious, and the time of inter-dimensional communication has been continuously lengthening. When the ninth episode calls, the last minute may still be Wednesday, and the next minute will be Thursday.
The truth of time-space distortion also appeared, because a time-space machine invented by a doctor succeeded.
The ending still does not know whether the space-time machine is shut down and the new universe is opened, but people have already made the choice in their hearts.
All the characters and stories of the whole play are connected together, and a complete new world has been constructed.
The story behind the creation of "Horrible Call"
Freshness, realism, and presence are the three key words of this show.
When watching the entire play, I have to say that such a simple form creates such a confusing drama, which is indeed very surprising.
The director Fede Alvarez directed "Hold Your Breath", which is also a thriller that relies on sound. This time he invited a number of first-line stars to appear in "Horrible Call", including the actors of "Black Mirror" and even There is also singer Nick Jonas, these actors also began to rely on voice to perform their acting skills.
▲ "Hold your breath"
Although it is hard to tell who is who, for the audience, it is the first time for the audience to feel the charm of the "sound image" more carefully.
I thought that the play would also take advantage of music to play a lot of weird effect sounds, but the play only used the voice of the actors and the environment to create a feeling of being really happening around me.
When the actor utters every word, it feels like the other party is talking to himself, and it seems like he has overheared someone's phone call. When their fear and despair are passed on through the phone, it makes people get goose bumps several times, as if they are themselves. It has also become part of the disaster.
The creative process behind this play is also very innovative.
From the very beginning, the director wanted to create a visual language that did not exist, and the new crown epidemic led to a form of remote cooperation.
▲ Director Fede Alvarez
The director sent microphones and recording equipment to all the actors so that they could record their voices remotely through the phone during the epidemic. Therefore, the family scenes were recorded in their own homes, and the location scenes were when they ran to the yard or in front of their door. Recorded from the street.
Every phone call in the play is also a real phone call.
Director Fede Alvarez will send scripts to the actors , and also only discuss the plot and how to record them over the phone. Although there are nine scripts arranged in chronological order, Fede Alvarez allows actors to play freely when performing their own scenes over the phone. Disrupt the timeline to produce a real conversation.
▲ Nick Jonas
Each actor is like a "technical expert", for them, this is also a fresh and interesting experience.
In post-production, the show uses digital images to present the ups and downs of the human voice and plot, which is also a novelty.
The constantly changing images have also become the new "body language" of the actors.
In an interview with one more thing , he said that the feature of the images in the play is that when people are staring at the screen, the pattern acts like a close-up of a movie, showing shadows that people can’t see. .
But not like the recorded video–
The same abstract image can reflect the different feelings in everyone's heart.
Another advantage of not using real images is that the director can have more free editing space, move sentences and words at will, creating the mysterious and suspenseful atmosphere he wants.
I have to say that this is a bold and very experimental attempt.
Continuously innovating "immersive film and television"
In the current fierce streaming media battlefield, Netflix, Apple TV+, and HBO Max are competing, and Disney has become a new rising star.
How to use new forms of film and television to attract audiences has become a proposition that they have been challenging.
Apple TV+ said that this time it wants to bring "a groundbreaking immersive TV experience" to the audience through "Horrible Call".
▲ Picture from: appletips
Look for new experiences in "immersion". Since 2010, some movies have borrowed computer or mobile phone screens to directly show the content of the movie, allowing the audience to become people sitting in front of the computer or mobile phone, bringing a strong sense of reality and substitution sense.
This type of film and television is also called "desktop film and television."
The two “desktop movies” released in 2018, “Unfriend 2 Dark Web” and “Internet Mystery Trail” have taken the world by storm, and have really made desktop movies begin to be paid attention to by the public. Audiences use web pages, videos, and chat boxes to find clues and create A brand new immersive "video game" is released.
▲ Screenshot of "Network Mystery Trail"
In 2018, Netflix also made more challenging attempts.
At that time, Netflix launched "Black Mirror: Bandersnatch" , which adopted a new form of interaction, allowing viewers to make different choices in watching movies, and use their own hands to influence the plot trend. All branches of the movie have a total of 5 durations. More than an hour, up to 5 different endings.
Even the audience will be questioned by the male protagonist-"Who is controlling me?"
This allows the audience to become part of the story, breaking the fourth wall of film and television creation.
▲ "Black Mirror: Bandersnatch"
When the VR/AR technology is further developed in the future, there will be more imaginative spaces for this immersive interaction.
But they are all expanding new possibilities outside, and "Horrible Call" is more like exploring new possibilities inside.
To put it simply, it promotes a new type of "telephone movie", but at the same time it finds a point of convergence between radio dramas and TV dramas: broadcasting is put on TV.
The immersive experience brought by "Horrible Call" is minimalist. It starts with simplicity and ends with simplicity, which is in line with Apple's minimalism.
But just because of this minimalism, it can also make the immersed audience have more imagination.
For a horror series, the horror of sight, hearing, and touch may not be as powerful as the horror of imagination. It is more intrusive than sound and images.
The real horror is people's imagination of things they can't see on the screen, and places they can't even imagine.
This is why it is difficult to adapt books into movies, because people have imagined their ideal versions.
The new visual attempt of "Horrible Call" is like a combination of Viking Eggeling and Fernand Léger.
Viking Eggeling is a Swedish avant-garde artist and film producer . His 1924 film "Diagonal Symphony" is one of the groundbreaking abstract films in the history of experimental film. The French painter and film producer Fernand Léger is considered A pioneer of Pop Art, he also boldly simplified modern painting with abstract style.
▲Photos of "Diagonal Symphony"
▲ Picture from: Fernand Léger's works
Appearing in film and television works this time, it can be said that it is a retro return.
Director Fede Alvarez also said that the picture he was trying to create was similar to the visual effect of Apple’s first Macintosh computer 37 years ago, with a retro psychedelic effect, and the sound of the phone is like a hypnotic, intriguing. Feeling gradually into the situation.
Although the first experience is very fresh, it is still niche. Apple TV+ dared to let this show air, which is also a brave attempt.
However, this style does not seem to be suitable for all dramas. Putting it into other slow-paced or emotional themes will inevitably lead to burnout.
But this is also the first attempt to break the existing fixed narrative of television. In any case, it is a movie-watching process worth experiencing.
Of course, without the support of a good story, there will only be one experience of the new form.
Fortunately, "Horrible Call" is a good story in a new format.
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