ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joseph Perry writes for the film websites Gruesome Magazine, The Scariest Things, Horror Fuel and Diabolique Magazine; for the film magazines Phantom of the Movies’ VideoScope and Drive-In Asylum; and for the pop culture websites When It Was Cool and Uphill Both Ways. He is also one of the hosts of When It Was Cool’s exclusive Uphill Both Ways podcast and can occasionally be heard as a cohost on Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era podcast.
Anyone who has ever dealt with an irate person while working at a call center or other customer service related jobs should find the premise of writer/director Richard Anthony Dunford’s U.K. horror thriller Minacious highly relatable. The film starts off with a call center employee being consoled by fellow staff members because she was the target of someone who threatened to kill her. Before she can even leave work early as she was given permission to do, the enraged caller makes good on his threat. It seems that this person may make a habit of that behavior, as he (voiced by Eric Roberts) targets amiable bank call center employee Izzy (Sarah Alexandra Marks), who is working from a relative’s home, when she cannot immediately transfer money into his account.
Minacious is, for the most part, a single-location film that depends on one on-screen actor to carry the bulk of the film on her shoulders, with assistance from a voice actor. Thankfully, Marks is well up to the task, giving a terrific performance as a protagonist who viewers can get behind. The film does spend a good deal of time showing the human side of call-center employees — it’s no easy job — but that helps make Izzy a more sympathetic character.
Eric Roberts’ voice acting here is solid work and helps drive the film, giving Marks plenty with which to work. It’s quite obvious that the person playing the on-screen villain isn’t Roberts, so viewers will have to willingly suspend disbelief whenever that double appears.
Dunford has crafted a nifty thriller and the production values belie the film’s being shot on a microbudget. Aside from a question I have regarding the opening scene and another quibble about the climax that would give away a spoiler, Minacious worked quite well for me.
Minacious screened as part of Horror-on-Sea Film Festival, which was held in Southend-on-Sea, U.K. January 12–14 and 19–21, 2023.