Follow TV Tropes


Film / When Evil Calls

Go To

You have been granted a wish...

When Evil Calls was the first horror series designed to be downloaded to mobile phones. Originally consisting of 20 episodes of 4-5 minutes each, it was reedited and additional footage added to turn it into a feature film. Written and directed by Johannes Roberts, it stars Jennifer Lim, Dominique Pinon, Sean Pertwee, Sean Brosnan, Chris Barrie, and Rick Warden.

When Evil Calls centres around the mysterious appearance of a text message that grants the students of Wilburn High School in the UK their wildest desires.


You have been granted these tropes:

  • Aerosol Flamethrower: The girl who wishes to be hot gets her wish when she lights a cigarette just as her friend sitting next to her spritzes perfume in her direction. The lighter ignites the stream of perfume and sets her head on fire.
  • The Alcoholic: Detective Ringwald. He spends the entire film drunk, climbs out his car clutching a bottle of booze, and is shown eating Chocolate-Frosted Sugar Bombs and whiskey for breakfast.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Samantha, the timid and sweet-natured daughter of the headmaster, has a crush on the school's bad boy Daniel. His cruel mocking of her causes her to make the wish to be popular, which triggers off the chain of deadly wishes which sweeps through the school.
  • Alpha Bitch: Kirsty is the biggest bully in the popular clique while Molly and Victoria also display alpha bitch tendencies to a lesser degree.
  • Advertisement:
  • An Arm and a Leg: The girl who wishes to lose a stone in weight gets her right arm ground off in the garbage disposal.
  • The B Grade: One overachieving student is so freaked out by the prospect of getting a B that he commits suicide by driving pencils up his nose into his brain.
  • Beauty Is Bad: Molly, Victoria, and Carol are the school beauties who are also vain, haughty, alpha bitches. They are all seemingly punished for this by the wishes, and Victoria and Carol's vanity lead to them losing their beauty in different wishes. Their envious classmates who use their wishes to be more beautiful than them are also all directly or indirectly punished.
  • Beauty to Beast: Victoria loses her beauty when acid is splashed in her face, leaving her horribly disfigured and ugly and thus fulfilling Jane's wish; the gorgeous Carol becomes an emaciated skeleton when she wishes to be older.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The entire point of the film. Every wish made comes true, but in the worst way possible. Only Samantha's original wish is free of ill effects.
  • Blessed with Suck: Michael wishes for X-Ray Vision and then happily ogles the girls' basketball team in the nude. However, he can't turn it off, so he's then horrified to also see his male teachers naked, along with his obese father.
  • Break the Haughty: Victoria starts out as beautiful, vain, and popular but loses everything, including her looks and boyfriend, when acid destroys her face as a result of Jane wishing to be more beautiful than Victoria after Victoria was rude to Jane and laughed at her for being ugly.
  • Breast Expansion: Alice's boyfriend wishes her breasts were bigger. Her breasts grow until they explode.
  • The Bully: Of all of the popular kids in Wilburn, Kirsty seems to be the worst bully. She is both physically and verbally abusive to those below her in the school pecking order, and every scene of hers that isn't her alone with Molly features her tormenting people. Her cruelty is the direct cause of several students making wishes that destroy their lives.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Detective Ringwald bears all the hallmarks of being a Defective Detective, but somehow is the only person who zeros in on the cause of the mysterious deaths plaguing Wilburn High School, despite it involving the supernatural.
  • Butch Lesbian: Kirsty, downplayed. She's far more tomboyish and even a ladette in comparison with her very feminine lover Molly, sporting a short haircut too.
  • Buxom Is Better: Alice's boyfriend thinks so. He uses his wish to cause her breasts to grow bigger.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Samantha awakes from the Dream Within a Dream that makes her realise she is responsible for unleashing the evil djinn upon the school by sitting bolt upright in bed.
  • Catholic Schoolgirls Rule: The 'cool girls' wear their uniforms so they resemble St. Trinian's girls; especially Molly, the school's resident sex bomb. Karen deliberately invokes this when she attempts to seduce Mr. Dale by perching on the edge of his desk in an extremely short plaid skirt with the top buttons of her blouse undone under her tie.
  • Chain Letter: A chain text circulates through the school, promising to grant the recipient a wish if they forward the text on to two friends. The wishes are granted. In the worst way possible.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Kirsty is so possessive of Molly that she beats a boy to death after he uses his wish to kiss her.
  • Compilation Movie
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Practically every death in the film. Examples include a girl whose hand is ground off in a garbage disposal, a girl whose head catches fire, a girl who is eaten alive by one of her classmates: the list goes on.
  • Crusty Caretaker: Sean Pertwee plays the embittered school janitor who narrates this tale of doom. Twenty years of cleaning up after students have left him with an abiding hatred of all kids.
  • Death by Ambulance: This happens to Victoria. As a result of her wish, her mother loses control of her wheelchair as they are leaving the hospital. The chair rolls out into the road where it gets struck by a speeding ambulance.
  • Death by Disfigurement: Victoria is taken to the hospital after acid lands on her face during a lab accident and immediately disfigures her. Her face cannot be repaired at the hospital and she learns her disfigurement is permanent. She is then struck by an ambulance and killed when leaving the hospital.
  • Defective Detective: Detective Ringwald is an alcoholic who lives in a rats nest of an apartment and eats Chocolate-Frosted Sugar Bombs and whiskey for breakfast. He staggers through the film in a drunken haze, speaking in French half the time, and being incomprehensible in either language.
  • Dream Within a Dream: Samantha has a dream in which she is confronted by the Monster Clown who fixed her phone and granted her wish. She awakens from this only for her to encounter the clown, making her realise that she is still asleep and that everything that has happened since she made her wish is indirectly her fault. When she awakens for real, she does so by sitting bolt upright in bed.
  • Driven to Suicide: One student is so stressed by the pressure of exams that he kills himself by sticking two sharpened pencils up his nose and slamming his head into the desk, driving the pencils into his brain. (And this wasn't even the result of a wish.)
  • Embarrassing Relative Teacher: Samantha is the daughter of the principal and receives a lot of teasing and bullying because of it, including from her crush.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Bisexual bombshell Molly has many admirers of both sexes amongst the student body. People wanting to be with her probably causes more self-destructive wishes to be cast—by boys and girls—than any other single factor.
  • Evil Phone: The evil wishes are spread via text message. Every time the 'new message' sound occurs, it means someone is about to make a wish which will destroy their life.
  • Exact Words: The djinn twists everyone's wishes by going only by their phrasing, not the intent. So for instance a girl wishing to be "hot" gets set on fire.
  • Eye Scream: Linda loses both eyes when she slips on the wet floor and lands face first on a pair of open scissors in a tin.
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: Mark's wish for Linda to be able to see again results in her sprouting multiple eyes across her torso.
  • The Faceless: Guggenhiem, the student the Janitor is telling the story to. As all of his scenes are shot from his point of view, the audience occasional glimpses his hand or his leg, but that's it.
  • Facial Horror: Victoria gets acid splashed in her face, turning her Two-Faced; Neville has rats gnaw on his face; Molly uses her teeth to rip chunks off another girl's face... The list goes on.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Michael's obese father is shown naked (from the waist up) due to his wish.
    • Molly eats a girl during a hot makeout session.
    • Acid disfigures Victoria's face when she is showing off her beauty to the class.
    • Kirsty and Molly end up slipping in a bathtub and being stabbed to death by a broken tequila bottle.
  • Fanservice Extra: Some of the minor characters on the girls' basketball team appear topless as a result of Michael's wish.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The prospect of being horribly disfigured for the rest of her life is unbearable for Victoria, who had loved being so beautiful; Neville's face is completely destroyed after being eaten by rats; Carol becomes an emaciated skeleton.
  • Fat Slob: The fat kid who wishes to be thin is wearing a very scruffy uniform, exhibits Jabba Table Manners, exudes a general air of slovenliness and smells. He looks at a flier for a weight loss program, but attempts to take a magical shortcut instead.
  • Fingore: The girl who wishes she could lose a stone in weight has her her right hand and arm ground off in a garbage disposal.
  • Framing Device: The story is framed as the janitor telling an unpopular student why wishing to be popular is a dangerous thing.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: This is mentioned when the janitor brings up Molly and Kirsty, the same-sex couple in the school, to the unseen student. However, he warns things end badly with them.
  • Golf Clubbing: Samantha beats Daniel's undead stepfather to death with a golf club.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Jane is jealous of the much better-looking Victoria for stealing her Best Friend, and wishes she was prettier to get over on Victoria. She gets her wish when acid disfigures Victoria in a lab accident and makes her much uglier than Jane.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Kirsty and Molly accidentally get stabbed to death by a broken vodka bottle.
  • Ground by Gears: A girl wishes she could lose a stone in weight. Her wish is granted by having her arm ground off when it gets trapped in the garbage disposal.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: Molly and Carol cause everyone to stop what they are doing and stare at their beauty in awe whenever they walk by. Ironically reverted with Victoria whose head-turning beauty is destroyed accidentally by acid, and afterwards suffers people turning their heads at her to gawk out of disgust or sneer.
  • Hot for Teacher: Karen has a crush on Mr. Dale, and attempts to use her wish to become old enough to be of interest to him.
  • I Am a Humanitarian: After one of her classmates wishes she looked good enough to eat, she gets parts of her face literally bitten off by Molly.
  • I Just Want to Be Beautiful: Homely and unpopular Jane is jealous of her gorgeous classmate, Victoria,and wishes she was prettier. She gets her wish after Victoria becomes ugly; the disfigured Victoria wishes she was beautiful again after her beauty was destroyed by acid in a lab accident. Her wish comes true, but at a terrible price. A homely girl wishes to be hot like Molly, the school beauty. Her face burns in an explosion after her friend lights up a cigarette.
  • Jabba Table Manners: The fat kid is shown eating three burgers in the canteen, stuffing them into his mouth and picking his nose between bites.
  • Jerkass Genie: The djinn deliberately interprets every wish (apart from Samantha's) in the worst possible way. A girl wishing to be hot catches fire; a boy wishing to be thin is squashed between a van and the wall; a girl wishing to never see her boyfriend again has her eyes gouged out...
  • Karmic Transformation: The beautiful but vain Alpha Bitch Victoria is disfigured by acid in a lab accident. She becomes much uglier than the girls she used to make fun of and pays for her inner ugliness by becoming ugly on the outside.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Many of the students are shown being treated horribly by others, which often prompts their wishes for change.
  • Kissing Under the Influence: A boy with a crush on Molly wishes that he could kiss her. Under the influence of the wish, Molly kisses him, very enthusiastically. However, the boy had not counted on Molly's psycho girlfriend.
  • Lesbian Jock: Molly and Kirsty, the same-sex couple, both play on the girls' basketball team (though Molly's really bisexual, but Kirsty's likely unaware of that).
  • Literal Genie: The Monster Clown specializes in granting wishes in a Be Careful What You Wish For manner. Sometimes he does this by choosing to interpret the wish literally. "I wish I looked good enough to eat" was a particularly poor choice of wording.
  • Literally Falling in Love: This is what Samantha thinks is happening when she trips on a pothole and falls in the arms of her crush Daniel. Subverted when Daniel first of all doesn't have any idea who she is, and then literally tosses her aside.
  • Magical Realism: No one expresses skepticism at the idea of a djinn being responsible for the horrific events in the film, or the wish results themselves, suggesting that the film's universe has such unusual things happen frequently enough so that they're known to be real.
  • Make a Wish: A Jerkass Genie unleashes a chain text around a school that grants a wish to anyone who forwards the text on to two other people. The wishes always come true... in the worst possible way.
  • Make-Out Kids: Molly and Kirsty. Their make-out session in the corridor between classes causes another girl to wish she "looked good enough to eat". Unfortunately for her her wish comes true.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Linda discovers her boyfriend Mark receiving a blowjob from Molly in the school library. Whoops!
  • Man Bites Man: After a girl wishes she looked good enough to eat, Molly starts making out with her and then starts literally chewing her face off.
  • Man on Fire: The girl who wishes to be hot gets her wish when an Aerosol Flamethrower sets her head on fire.
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: Kirsty is a short-haired tomboy who's basically The Lad-ette, while her girlfriend Molly has quite classically feminine looks along with her mannerisms.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: A student who is failing an exam wishes he could read the mind of the smart kid sitting next to him. He gets his wish, but discovers that the boy whose mind he is reading is panicking about the possibility of receiving The B Grade. The boy is so stressed that he commits suicide by driving pencils up his nose into his brain. And the first student is still reading his mind when this happens!
  • Ms. Fanservice: Molly, hands down. She's gorgeous, her beauty accentuated by a revealing school uniform, and turns heads wherever she goes (from everyone, not just boys-perhaps fittingly, Molly's bi). Unsurprisingly, she's lusted after by most of the school. At one point, she's also shown topless as a result of Michael's wish.
  • Monster Clown: The evil djinn granting the twisted wishes manifests as a monster clown who looks a lot like Pennywise.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Michael wishes for X-Ray Vision so he can see the girls basketball team naked. Although he gets his wish, he then finds he cannot turn the power off, so he sees not only the nubile basketballers nude, but also his middle-aged male teacher, his headmaster, and his overweight father naked. Hellish for Michael, but hilarious for the audience.
  • Non-Uniform Uniform: The 'cool kids' tend to have modified their uniforms in a variety of ways; especially the girls, who invoke Catholic Schoolgirls Rule. Kirsty sports weird sunglasses, Daniel goes around with no blazer and his shirt sleeves rolled up to show his tattoos, etc. The girls also wear high heels that would not be permitted in any school in Britain (and may very well be banned at Wilburn, but discipline is shown as noticeably lax).
  • Nose Shove: An overachieving student—Driven to Suicide by the prospect of The B Grade—kills himself by inserting sharpened pencils up his nostrils and then slamming his face into his desk, driving the pencils into his brain.
  • Our Genies Are Different: According to Detective Ringwald, the villain is a dark djinn who grants one wish that works perfectly so long as the wisher passes the text message on to others. Thus the wishes are propagated through the phone network, and the djinn horribly twists the wishes of every subsequent wisher. The djinn can only be defeated by the original wisher wishing their original wish to be undone. For some reason, the djinn manifests as a Monster Clown.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Daniel wishes that his stepfather was alive again. The Jerkass Genie twists this wish by reanimating his corpse as a zombie. The zombie shows up on the headmaster's doorstep (Daniel is having dinner inside), but Samantha beats it to death with a golf club before anyone else notices its presence.
  • The Pen Is Mightier: An overachieving student—Driven to Suicide by the prospect of The B Grade—kills himself by inserting sharpened pencils up his nostrils and then slamming his face into his desk, driving the pencils into his brain.
  • P.O.V. Cam: The Framing Device is shot entirely from Guggenheim's point of view.
  • Power Incontinence: Michael wishes that he had X-Ray Vision, so he can perv on the girls basketball team. He is granted his wish, but then discovers that he cannot shut it off, and he is now doomed to see everyone naked, forever.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Michael wishes that he had X-Ray Vision, which he then uses to spy on the girls basketball team, seeing them naked. He then discovers that he cannot turn it off, and is forced to see his teacher, his headmaster, and his father naked.
  • Proud Beauty: Molly, Carol, and Victoria all revel in the attention they receive for being gorgeous.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Kirsty is extremely possessive of Molly, beating a boy to death just for kissing her. She likely would kill Molly too if she'd known the latter cheated on her.
  • Pungeon Master: The janitor makes a nonstop stream of death related puns. He seems to be under some compulsion to do so, as he complains that it's not easy and he is doing the best he can.
  • Punished with Ugly: The gorgeous Victoria becomes disfigured due to her vanity and cruel behavior toward Jane. Victoria humiliates Jane when she pushes her aside without a second look because she does not find her attractive enough to even acknowledge, pointedly praises Samantha's looks, and walks away with Samantha without looking back. In the lab she sneers at the teacher's warning to be careful with the acid and doesn't want to wear goggles to mess up her makeup. She then laughs when Kirsty reads Jane's wish that she was prettier than Victoria and Kirsty calls her ugly. This leads to an upset Jane pushing Kirsty, who then crashes into Daniel, who then falls forward and accidentally releases the acid in his beaker onto Victoria, which is able to completely spread across her face because she was not wearing goggles. The acid quickly ravages Victoria's face and destroys most of her features and all of her beauty. Jane's wish is fulfilled and she is much prettier than the now horrifyingly ugly Victoria.
  • Quick Nip: The Janitor pours a shot of whiskey into his tea mug and drinks it without interrupting his narrative.
  • Rapid Aging: Karen has a crush on her teacher Mr. Dale, but he tells her that so long as she is his student, he will regard her as a child. She wishes to be older, and the wish ages her into decrepitude.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Detective Ringwald tells Samantha that she needs to confront the dark djinn and take back her original wish. Ringwald and Nelson wait in her bedroom while she sleeps and attempts to do this. Confronting the djinn, Samantha wishes that she had never met him, thereby undoing all the events of the movie. When Samantha wakes up, she doesn't know who Ringwald and Nelson are or why they are in her bedroom. Ringwald and Nelson leave, commenting that Ringwald's plan worked, indicating that they do remember: possibly because they are external to the school. The janitor also remembers as he narrates the story but he might be a supernatural entity himself.
  • Shear Menace: Alice has both eyes poked out when she slips and lands face first on a pair of open scissors.
  • Shower of Love: Kirsty and Molly start to get it on in the shower. However, Kirsty's wish kicks in, resulting in both of their deaths.
  • Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: Shy girl Samantha (who is also the headmaster's daughter) has a crush on bad boy Daniel who is considered the hunkiest boy in school. It is her desire for him that causes her to make the wish to be popular, which sets in motion the chain of disastrous wishes that sweeps over the school.
  • Social Media Is Bad: The evil wishes are propagated through a string of chain texts.
  • Stuffed into a Trashcan: Spotty boy Neville gets stuffed into a recycling bin, and a lump of concrete is placed on the lid to stop him getting out. Overnight, rats get into the bin and chew most of his face off.
  • Supernatural Phone: The evil djinn is somehow able to send a text message to Samantha's phone, which starts off the chain of Be Careful What You Wish For wishes that sweeps the school.
  • Symbolic Blood: When the fat kid is squashed between the van and the wall, the shot cuts from his face to the janitor pressing down on his sandwich and strawberry jam squirting out the sides.
  • Together in Death: Kirsty and Molly die wrapped in each other's arms in the bathtub: victims of Kirsty's wish.
  • Translator Buddy: Detective Nelson is the only one to understand what his partner Detective Ringwald is saying, as Ringwald mumbles everything in a drunken slur while switching between English and French. Nelson usually summarizes at the end of Ringwald's rants; cleaning it up a bit in the process.
  • Two-Faced: After a girl wishes she was prettier than Victoria, Victoria gets acid splashed in her face, hideously scarring the right-hand side of it.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Molly is a threefer as she's female, bisexual and East Asian. Samantha too is an East Asian girl (both are among just three characters of color we see in the film, one black boy being the other).
  • Two-Teacher School: Although a large number of students are seen, the only teachers seen are Mr. Dale, who teaches English, and Miss Nibbs, who teaches science and maths. The only other staff seen are the headmaster and the janitor.
  • The Unintelligible: Detective Ringwald mumbles everything in a drunken slur and keeps switching between English and French. Only his partner Nelson seems to understand him.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The headmaster finds nothing unusual about a severed human arm lying around the corridor. Likewise, the maths teacher's only reaction when a girl's breasts explode is suggesting someone call the nurse, with only a mildly interested look.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Samantha ends up starting the deadly chain of texts which results in everything that happens.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: This is the janitor's opinion of the unseen student he spins his tale of horror to:
    "What kind of stupid name is Guggenheim?!"
  • X-Ray Vision: Michael impulsively wishes for x-ray vision (the text granting him his wish arrives while he is ogling the girls basketball team during a particularly spirited training session). His wish is granted but, like every other wish in the film, it turns out to be a case of Be Careful What You Wish For.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Neville has much of his face chewed off by rats after he is Stuffed into a Trashcan.