Mike Flanagan Calls This Underrated 2024 Gem “A fascinating, genre-bending tale of isolation”

mike flanagan first time caller

Social media is a cesspool, but there are some silver linings among all the muck and mudslinging and general mess. One of the best things it’s done is open up new avenues for conversation and engagement with the filmmakers I most admire. If you read Dread Central, you know we’re the first to let you know whenever Stephen King fixates on a new genre title (even if it is Night Swim). It’s that very reason why I follow Mike Flanagan on Letterboxd. I love the opportunity to check out what he’s been watching and gain insights into any gems I might have missed. Last week, Flanagan logged J.D. Brynn and Abe Goldfarb’s First Time Caller. He loved it, and best of all, you can stream it for free on Plex and Tubi if you’re interested in checking it out for yourself.

Per Tubi: Brent Ziff is an internet shock-jock at the top of his game. But one night, a conversation with a listener could determine the fate of humanity.

The microbudget gem has been a big hit with those who have seen it, though its low profile and small scale means it’s flown under most of our radars. Earlier this year, Meredith Jill Brown reviewed the feature for Dread Central, writing, “First Time Caller is a brilliantly simplistic film. One man, one caller, and intense cerebral hemorrhaging hover over the room.” The less you know going into it, the better. Mike Flanagan definitely agrees.

In Flanagan’s lengthy Letterboxd review, the contemporary master of horror wrote, “Excellent indie thriller/drama that evokes elements of Talk Radio (one of my favorite films) in service of a fascinating, genre-bending tale of isolation, disconnection, premonition and apocalypse.” Flanagan then went on to praise the craftsmanship, saying, “I don’t know what their budget was, but I guarantee it was not nearly as much as I’d guess. Very impressive DIY filmmaking here.”

There you have it. First Time Caller is worth answering. You can check out what the buzz is all about and stream it for free on either Tubi or Plex. Once you do, let me know whether you agree with Mike Flanagan by tweeting me @Chadiscollins over on Twitter.


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