this post contains ending spoilers
“The Call” is a Korean movie starring Park Shin Hye (as Seo Yeon from 2019) and Jun Jong Seo (as Young Sook from 1999). The film follows the story of the two girls, who are both from different time periods but are connected and are able to talk to each other via a phone call. Through their calls, the two are able to change the present as Seo Yeon warns Young Sook of impending danger, while Young Sook tries to avoid it. Due to this, Seo Yeon’s life changed as Young Sook prevented her father’s death; while Young Sook — who was supposed to be killed by her stepmother — was able to prevent the incident from happening.
It could have been a happy ending for both of them, but — unknown to Seo Yeon — Young Sook turned out to be a psychopathic killer. As the two clashed, Young Sook started to torment Seo Yeon, eventually killing her father and has planned to do the same to her mother.
The ending shows Young Sook and Seo Yeon’s mother both falling from their house’s upper floor; that bit showed that both of them might have not survived. It was a possibility as Seo Yeon rushed to the cemetery to try to look for her mother’s grave, but saw her father’s grave instead. As she was crying, a woman called out her name. It turned out to be her mother; the scars from her neck and hands confirmed her dark past. Hence, her mother is alive.
How did she survive? It could be that she either really survived the fall, or young Seo Yeon was able to ask for help. She could have been revived later on, (which explains why she’s alive in the present day).
The next scene showcases the phone call between 2019 Young Sook and 1999 Young Sook. It could be that Young Sook also survived, but that’s unlikely since if she did she wouldn’t have let Seo Yoon get away with everything. (Unless she was caught by the police, escaped, and eventually found her way back to the house, which is also unlikely.) This could mean that the phone call was from before Seo Yoon stole the phone from Young Sook. This, in turn, helped Young Sook understand what’s going to happen and eventually was able to survive.
This could mean that Young Sook could have looked for Seo Yeon and her mother after she recovered, kidnapped Seo Yeon, and killed her mother. Or she could have done both of this before they had a chance to escape.
Remember how the present updates based on what’s currently happening in the past? This is probably why Seo Yeon’s present keeps updating. Her mother falling from the second floor and surviving (possibly with young Seo Yeon helping her mother, whether they made it to a hospital or not) showed in the present that her mother survived. But Young Sook waking up changed everything again (Seo Yeon’s mother disappeared in the present, and Seo Yeon was then seen in Young Sook’s house), and eventually her present also updated because of that change.
To explain this, their time periods are connected, if it’s December 1, 9PM in 1999, it’s also December 1, 9PM in 2019. Hence, Seo Yeon’s present reflects what happens during the connected time in 1999. Example, if something happened on December 1, 9:01PM, her present will update based on what happened at that time. Hence, if Seo Yeon’s mother survived at 9PM, the present will show her mother alive. But if she was killed at 9:30PM, her present will update showing that her mother is no longer there. If Seo Yeon wasn’t kidnapped at 9:30PM, she won’t be seen inside the house. But if she was tied up and kidnapped at 9:31, her present will once again update. Hence, the change between the past and present happen simultaneously.
This is why the ending showed Seo Yeon inside the house tied up, which shows that she probably lived her life as Young Sook’s prisoner since 1999.
(P.S. This is supposed to be a horror/thriller film, but why is this so sad?)