Private Number (2014)
Synopsis: A series of cryptic phone messages and visions haunt a writer while he struggles to finish a novel. As they increase in intensity, he loses his grip on reality, eventually obsessing over an old mystery that will lead to horrific revelations about both him and his loyal wife.
Michael is a writer that is struggling to write the follow up to his first successful novel. He is also a recovering alcoholic with over a year of sobriety under his belt. His wife Katherine works at a bouquet shop so he is left home all day to work on his novel. He starts receiving ominous phone calls around 3 in the morning. He starts seeing things, hearing things, going crazy. Of course, the world around him automatically jumps to the conclusion that he has fallen off the wagon. He at first opens up about the problems with the leader of his AA group, Jeff. When he is discussing the problems he is having, he tells Jeff that he is having hallucinations again, the same kind he had after the accident. Jeff also asks him if he has been drinking. The accident was only referred to once during the movie and it was at this moment. He met his wife Katherine and had an accident shortly after. She stuck with him through it but when is drinking got really bad, she threatened to leave him. That was his reason for joining AA and getting clean.

Many sleepless nights follow due to the phone calls. At one point, he unplugs all the phones in the house and that night, the phones ring again. He starts hearing names on his answering machine. As he starts digging into it, the names he found were all victims of a serial killer who was never caught. He comes to the realization that he is being called upon to help solve these murders. As he gets closer to the truth, his wife starts getting traumatized by the visions. Mike is taken on a roller coaster ride as he unfolds the mystery of the ghosts that won't leave him alone.

While this movie was entertaining, it was a far stretch from being original. It seemed like a pretty even mix of both The Shining and The Secret Window. As Michael loses grip on reality, he quite frequently sees a bottle of liquor appear; very similar to the way Jack Torrance, also a recovering alcoholic, always ended up at the bar. During his hallucinations, he also imagines a “knight” who is constantly trying to get him to drink, much like Lloyd in The Shining. This was also about as predictable as the events that occurred in The Shining. While they worked extremely hard to lead the viewers in one direction so they could set up the shocking twist, it is apparent very early on as to what is going on. Still not a bad movie to watch. Not a very high demand for special effects. Instead, a lot of the tension was set up with lighting and sound effects which has always been my preference anyway. The ghosts had some good, and pretty clever makeup designs. The acting was solid. Hal Ozsan (Micheal) was great in every aspect of his role. Nicholle Tom (Kathering) was a harder one to rate. Her character had many points in the movie where she came off as whiny and annoying. If that is how Katherine was expected to be portrayed, than I'd see she was spot on. Tom Sizemore (Jeff) was a great supporting actor. The role of Jeff was a very small, but important role. And one of my favorites, in another awesome supporting actor role. Judd Nelson (Sheriff Stance) played the serious version of his sheriff character in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. The acting alone by all those involved is enough for me to say that this movie is definitely worth a view. And anyone who is into the paranormal thrillers, this is a movie that may be right up your alley.
reviewed by Bobby

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