When Evil Calls (2006)

When Evil Calls was originally a made-for-mobile "TV" series -- twenty episodes, each a few minutes long -- but it's since been edited into a feature, starring Sean Pertwee as a sort of Crypt Keeper, tying all the threads together.

It's essentially the age-old monkey's paw routine: someone makes a wish, and dreadful consequences ensue. Except that there's not just one person making a wish; all the consequences involve either extreme gore or lots of nudity; and the wishes are all made via mobile phone. Which is a fitting medium, really, because all the characters making wishes are schoolkids -- as, presumably, are the target audience members.

Brilliantly, the number that viewers text to download the episodes of When Evil Calls is the same number that characters in the episodes text to make wishes. In order to get their wishes granted, wishers must also forward the evil text message on to two of their friends, so that the whole cycle continues, chain letter style. One girl (Hostel's Jennifer Lim) makes a deal with the devil, and sets in motion a series of events that'll see the population of her school decimated.

The fast pace means the feature never gets boring, even though you'd expect it would considering its repetitive nature. Sean Pertwee's increasingly violent ranting (and increasingly dreadful punning) enlivens proceedings -- not that they need much enlivening, all things considered. One episode sees the accidental death of a pair of lustful teenage lesbians; another sees a boy getting more than he bargained for when he wishes for x-ray vision. (Did anyone, ever, really need to see Chris "Rimmer" Barrie naked?) Disembowelments sit side by side with naked flesh; there's a mischievous sense of humour running throughout the whole thing, all topped off with director Roberts's now-familiar evil clown lurking under the bed or crawling down the stairs, soggy dead girl style.

All things considered, When Evil Calls is great fun. You can supposedly download the episodes to your mobile via the instructions given at www.whenevilcalls.tv, though I've yet to get it working.

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