Road Rash Reviews

On the Line Digital Review****-

Cert 12 | 74 mins | 2024

4 star tense and effective thriller.

On the Line is a 2024 mystery/thriller written and directed by Oliver Pearn, in a feature directorial debut which puts him firmly on the map.

It is available on UK Digital Platforms from 22nd January 2024 courtesy of Miracle Media.

“Help. You’ve got to do something. There’s someone you have to alert…I remember now. It’s the police. It’s the police I wanted.”

It’s 1964 on the island of Alderney in the Channel Islands. Agnes (Victoria Lucie – The Devil’s Machine) is a young switchboard operator, in charge of keeping the whole island connected. As she goes about her day to day business, practising her telephone voice and connecting the locals through the exchange, a worrying call comes in. It is from a confused elderly lady named Shirley (Harriet Walter – The Last Duel, Sense and Sensibility) who seems to be distressed and scared.

Shortly after, a call comes in from a woman named Martha (Joanne Rogers), who implies that her life is in danger and she has been kidnapped by an unknown assailant (Royce Pierreson – The Witcher (TV series)), whose voice can be heard threatening in the background. Agnes immediately gets on the line to her friend and former work colleague Betty (Sally Geake)at police dispatch, but she initially dismisses her, insisting on more details.

Agnes does a bit of digging and with her help and that of her fiance Frank (Thomas Bliss) they begin to put the pieces of this terrifying situation together and help the police with their investigations. Can they get to Martha in time to save her?

“Operator. There’s a man dragging a woman into Saint Mary’s church. get Father Mackenzie, try the rectory…Yes, he’s up to no good.”

On the Line is a well written and claustrophobic thriller. It makes excellent use of the single visible actor method of filmmaking, with Victoria Lucie outstanding as the harried switchboard operator with the weight of the world on her shoulders. You can really empathise with how helpless she feels on the other end of the phone to the events that are unfurling.

The characters are well developed in such a short space of time and although there is mixed success with the voice acting at the opposite ends of the phone lines, the story is still portrayed admirably. There’s a surprising twist and it certainly keeps you on the edge of your seat right to the end.

The atmosphere is assisted by a dramatic and brooding score by Matthew Collings, which is effective without being intrusive. The attention to detail with the period features also help this to be more immersive. Excellent and well worth a watch.

“Sometimes good people get themselves into desperate situations. As long as they make amends, it’s okay.”

On the Line is available now on UK Digital Platforms.

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DirectorOliver Pearn
GenreDrama, mystery, thriller
StarringVictoria Lucie, Joanne Rogers, Harriet Walter, Sally Geake, Royce Pierreson
Category: Digital, film, Review