“Horror-comedy” is a genre that I have spent most of my adult life avoiding, in terms of entertainment value I put those combined terms in the same category as “cheese-grater” and “testicles”. But I must say that Euro director James Huth straddles both genres with aplomb and style.

The titular phone is just that, a phone spawned from the bowels of hell…and if you’ve ever had connectivity problems and an exorbitant phone bill you might be able to relate.

Sid comes into possession of the phone one day after visiting a mysterious Chinese bazaar; the phone is a sleek red number, complete with devil’s horns and a mind of its own.

Sid and his best friend Pierre (the Feldman/Haim pairing of French cinema) soon discover more nefarious ways the phone can be used, from cheating on exams through to manipulating others. But as anyone with half a brain knows, the devil always has a hidden agenda and when you dance with Satan, don’t expect to lead and don’t ever expect things to end well.

Soon things are going awry and harmless pranks take a more sinister turn. This sets the scene for some nice revenge motifs (setting the hair on fire of a vain classmate, making a cruel teacher choke on chalk etc) especially where Sid and the object of his desire, Angie, is concerned. Sid needs to get school stud Virgil out of the way so he can have Angie all to his nerdy self.

Despite the subject matter and the baffling MA rating on the DVD box it’s all pretty tame stuff and most of the “horror” scenes are played for laughs, it can be best likened to a film version of the TV series Parker Lewis Can’t Lose.

Also if you didn’t know better you’d swear that the director was a first-timer, what with the overuse of “I’ve just graduated from film-school” camera angles and general film trickery that is utilised.

The cast are all cut from the same French mold…the girls are pouty and gorgeous, the guys are stuck in some 80s time warp.

Not a bad way to spend 96 minutes.

Tres bien.

DIRECTOR(S): James Huth | COUNTRY: France | YEAR 2007 | DISTRIBUTOR(S): Madman | RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes | ASPECT RATIO: | REGION: 4 | DISCS: 1

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