*Ring Ring*

*Answer Phone*

Me: Hello?

Phone: Did you watch me? Did you watch me?

Me: Yes, I have and I have a few things to say…

Private Number follows Michael Lane, a writer who is struggling to finish his second novel.  The pressure begins to dawn on him mentally and physically. As a series of cryptic phone messages and visions haunt him he begins to lose his grip on reality, eventually obsessing over an old mystery that will lead to horrific revelations about both him and his loyal wife.

The film takes “outdated technology” and brings it back to life in a horror filled adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat. By outdated, I mean the film uses old wall telephones and answering machines as a way to establish the horror aspects of the film, and for the most part, it works. This calls for a fun throwback to a few years ago, but sadly begins lose its steam as the film develops. The realism fades and too many moments feel too far from our own reality.

The script was tight and worked in trying to build suspense. It opened up a door into a realm of horror and mystery.

The highlight of the film was the performance by Hal Ozsan. He embodied his character’s motive in a creepy and convincing way. We get to entail the psychotic journey of a man with a dark and hidden past. As the events develop and his secrets begin to unfold, he turns from someone we rooted for into something we fear. The transition was handled well and actually worked. It catches you off guard and all the trust you had built throughout the films run time has now dwindled into an unclear and hazy line. Trust no one.

While the plot and performance by the actors was strong, the overall film felt like it could not handle what it was going for. The tonal change worked for the characters, but seemed to stumble everywhere else. Which made the film hard to follow and failed at keeping you engaged. What could have been a successful tale of spiraling madness and dark secrets was instead a lacking narrative with absurd twist and turns that was hindered by it’s Lifetime(esque) production and sometimes laughable scares. Imagine if M. Night Shyamalan and Michael Bay had a baby — It was just all over the place.

Even with Private Number being weak in multiple points, it was good enough to keep you interested. You begin to get involved with the characters and even find yourself trying to solve the mystery that has been established. If you’re looking to add mystery into your life this film is definitely something you need to check out.

Private Number - Poster