“For a Good Time, Call . . .” (Fantasia 2017): Sexual Power Play Leads to Petrifying Retribution

In her latest horror short For a Good Time, Call . . ., director Izzy Lee tackles the topic of posting Internet sex tapes without the willing consent of both victims. The victim in this case makes a wish that results in a terrifying situation for the perpetrator and a nifty slice of scare fare for viewers.

Alex (Sean Carmichael) sets up a hidden camera in the bedroom, unbeknownst to Alice (frequent Lee collaborator Diana Porter). He starts things up a little rougher than Alice likes, but after some warnings on her part, the two have sex. In the next scene, Alex calls a furious Alice, not understanding why she is so upset about him posting the aforementioned online video, first outright lying about the situation and then making weak excuses for his actions. Alice then wishes something bad upon him.

At a secluded, rainy rest stop, Alex sees a woman in a short red dress (Tristan Risk, who has also appeared in several of Izzy Lee’s shorts) enter the restroom. He goes into the men’s room, and soon finds himself in a frightening situation.

Working from a screenplay by Christopher Hallock, who has penned scripts for the director several times before, Izzy Lee fashions a tightly wound tale of comeuppance. For a Good Time, Call . . . feels like an EC Comics-style morality tale with a contemporary topic updating. In its approximately 11 minutes of running time, the short manages to clearly give viewers characters with which to sympathize and and greatly dislike, bring up issues such as sexual entitlement and invasion of privacy, and deliver tension and shocks. The cast members deliver the goods, with Sean Carmichael playing a selfish bro type well,  Diana Porter eliciting sympathy for her character in a short amount of time, and Tristan Risk making a mark in limited screen time.

Some grisly makeup effects are on display, fashioned by the director and special makeup effects artist Julie LeShane. These provide some visceral moments, but perhaps my favorite aspect of For a Good Time, Call . . . is an eerie walk through a rainy stretch of road toward the restrooms. Bryan McKay’s cinematography is wonderful throughout this short, but in this sequence, it captures a sense of unease and dread — aided by some simple but highly effective effects — preparing viewers for what is about to come and letting us know that we are now in a world where we have no idea what to expect.

Izzy Lee has a good number of terrific horror shorts to her credit, and For a Good Time, Call . . . is a fine place to start if you are new to her work. The short is currently on a film festival run, including screenings at the recent Fantasia International Film Festival.

(4 / 5)

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry’s formative years were spent watching classic monster movies (starting with "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" and "Godzilla Vs. the Thing") and TV series (starting with "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits"), Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features" and Roy Shires’ Big Time Wrestling (two northern California legends); reading Silver Age and Bronze Age Gold Key, Dell, Charlton, Marvel, and DC comics; and writing mimeographed newsletters about the original "Planet of the Apes" film and TV series. More recently, he has written for "Filmfax" magazine, is the foreign correspondent reporter for the "Horror News Radio" podcast, and is a regular contributing writer to "Phantom of the Movies’s VideoScope" magazine, occasionally proudly co-writing articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.