This just shot to the No. 1 movie on Netflix — and it's a surprise

A TV with the Netflix logo sits behind a hand holding a remote
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Sometimes, the most popular Netflix movies and shows are predictable. The Ultimatum and Bridgerton, for example, have the number 1 and 2 slots in Netflix's Top 10 in the U.S. list today (April 14) with little surprise. The former is the even-wilder spinoff of Love Is Blind, and the latter is the long-awaited second season of one of Netflix's most popular shows.

That said, venture further down the list, past the first five entries, and you'll finally find the first movie in this list. And this movie's popularity has us (and its star) shocked.

Ever heard of 2013's The Call? This film (which is extremely new on Netflix, having arrived on April 10), currently the 6th most popular title overall on Netflix and its most popular film, may have slipped under your radar a while ago. And that may be why people are turning out to watch it more than CoComelon, Inventing Anna, Elite season 5 and Is It Cake?

Google users, for example, are loving The Call, as 88% of users voted that they liked the film. But this film, about a call-center operator (Halle Berry) trying to help a kidnapped teen (Abigail Breslin), is arguably one of the last films we expected to see on this list. Here's what you need to know before picking up The Call.

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Should you watch The Call on Netflix?

Trying to figure out whether or not to join the horde on Netflix and give The Call a chance? If you go by critical consensus, the short answer is "nope." 

The Call has a 44% Rotten Tomatoes score, and going through the reviews, it's kind of easy to see why the film is doing so well on Netflix (which measures by minutes-watched) at the moment. 

It appears that the 96-minute film runs out of gas in its third act, as Peter Bradshaw at The Guardian wrote: "A promising picture turns into gibberish." Trevor Johnston at Time Out agreed, writing: "Just when the movie has us in its grasp, the script falls to pieces and turns into a crass female-in-peril button-pusher." One of the worst reviews came from Sara Stewart at the New York Post who declared, "I'll say one thing for 'The Call': Its ending is actually a bit of a surprise. Just when you think it couldn't get any stupider, pow!"

Those critics who defend The Call lean into the fact that this is one of those schlocky movies that won't disappoint if you go in looking for something silly. Elizabeth Weitzman of the New York Daily News said The Call is "high quality trash that both diminishes and is redeemed by all the talents who have deigned to bring it to life." Also, Adam Graham at the Detroit News made things real simple by saying, "yes, it's cheese, but it's good cheese."

Halle Berry's response to The Call's Netflix success is priceless

As I've teased above, all of this is even more worth discussing because of Halle Berry's own reaction. Berry tweeted "….so “The Call” is the No. 1 movie on @netflix right now, nearly 10 years after it’s release. Are y’all OK?" with a laughing and crying emoji.

And it's just this kind of reaction that may leave some thinking twice about hitting play on The Call. If even the star of the film finds it worrisome that the public is eating up their movie? It suggests that you can find the flaws in this project even if you're very close to it. 

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.