The Call (2020) movie ending, simply explained

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This article reveals the explained plot and the detailed events in 2020 Lee Chung-hyun movie The Call, revealing its meaning and symbols, the ending and the and storyline. We recommend you to read it only after watching the movie, and not before, in order to preserve the pleasure of the first vision.

The Call is the korean movie directed in 2020 by Lee Chung-hyun and based on the 2011 british movie The Caller. The movie has a complex plot, that can be a bit hard to follow during the vision, and that brings towards an ending that actually turns all events upside down right after the ending title.

In this article we will provide a simple explanation, that avoids to delve too much on all details and aims to give to the viewer the overall idea of how the storyline develops.

The plot explained: two girls change each other’s life

The present is 2019. In this moment, Kim Seo-yeon, 28 years old, goes to visit her sick mom, and enters her childhood home, where nobody lives now. There is an old cordless phone at home, and soon Seo-yeon starts receiving calls from a scared little girl, Young-sook, that asks for help because her mom wants to kill her.

Soon the two discover that they are talking from different years. Young-sook is also 28 years old, but she lives in 1999, 20 years earlier, in that same hose, before Seo-yeon’s parents bought it. They become friends soon, and they get so connected that they open up to each other: Young-sook lives in that house, in 1999, with her stepmom, who is a shaman and wants to exorcise her, believing that she’s possessed and she will kill lots of people in her future. Seo-yeon moved in that house when she was 8, right after her father died in a domestic accident.

One day Young-sook sees Seo-yeon’s family (her mother, her father and the little Seo-yeon) visiting the house. Through the cordless phone, she lets 2019 Seo-yeon listen to her young father home. And an idea comes to mind: she wants to do her best to prevent the accident to happen, and save Seo-yeon’s father life. This plan succeedes: in the first supernatural scene of the movie, we see 2019 changing shape after what Young-sook did 20 years earlier. The home now is in good shape and occupied by Seo-yeon’s family, with both parents alive. Young-sook managed to save Seo-yeon’s father life.

Seo-yeon returns the favour and, always through the phone, tells 1999’s Young-sook that her stepmom will kill her that night. That night Young-sook watches her mom stabbing her own figure under the blanket and as a reaction kills her stepmom. In that moment Young-sook comes to a new life.

But happiness doesn’t last long: the day after she kills the owner of the strawberry farm near to the house, because he saw the proof of the murder she committed. Seo-yeon now gets information about Young-sook: in 1999 she becomes a serial killer, but she will be caught and sentenced to life inprisonment. She accidentally reveals it to 1999 Young-sook, that now wants to know all detailed information about how she got caught. Seo-yeon realizes that she’s talking to a disturbed person and, scared, stops answering the phone. The two are now enemies.

The Call explained: two enemies, 20 years apart

The Call | Official Trailer | Netflix
The Call, the official trailer

1999’s Young-sook is now furious with 2019’s Seo-yeon because she doesn’t want to help her avoid being caught. She receives the visit of 1999’s Seo-yeon and his father, who had an appointment with Young-sook’s stepmom for the home sale. Young Sook invites the two home and kills Seo-yeon’s father. We then watch again 2019’s reality falling apart, Seo-yeon’s father is turned into dust in front of her eyes. She runs home and sees a written line on the floor: “answer the phone”. She picks up the phone and 1999’s Young-sook gives her one hour to find out the proof the police found on her, while she holds young Seo-yeon trapped in that house.

2019’s Seo-yeon tries to set a trap for 1999’s Young-sook by giving her indications to a place where an explosion will happen at 5pm. Unfortunately Young-sook survives and takes her revenge on young Seo-yeon, burning her skin. Desperate, this time Seo-yeon truly helps 1999’s Young-sook revealing the right information. 2019 reality changes again: now Seo-yeon is in that house and Young-sook lives there too, she kept killing people and never got caught. Reading the police notebook, Seo-yeon discovers that her young mom will visit that home with a police officer, but will leave after her mom used the cordless phone.

She realizes that she’s gonna receive the call in 2019. She picks up the phone and warns her mom to run away before she gets killed. 1999’s Young-sook kills the police officer and chase her mom on the upper floor, while at the same moment – 20 years later – old Young-sook chases old Seo-yeon. Seo-yeon gives indications to her mom in order to kill young Young-sook. The plan succeeds: her mom jumps from the upper floor toghether with Young-sook, they both look dead.

In 2019 life changes again, Young-sook disappeared (she died in 1999). Seo-yeon goes to visit her father tomb, looking also for her mother’s one, but she doesn’t find it. Her mom is alive, she survived the jump from that floor. Seo-yeon is happy to see again her mom, in good shape. The way her mom saved the little Seo-yeon’s life 20 years earlier gave them the right motivation to go on in life despite the father’s death, and now they are quite happy. The ending titles comes up. This looks like an happy ending, after all. But the director had something else in mind.

The ending explained: a huge plot twist

We discover that also Young-sook actually survived. Since she’s still alive, 20 years later she calls herself right before the she receives the visit from the police officer and Seo-yeon’s mom. Now that she knows she will die short time after, she acts differently: she immediately kills the police officer and Seo-yeon’s mom. In 2019 we see Seo-yeon’s mom vanishing before our eyes.

What will Young-sook do in 1999 after that? She will keep living as a serial killer, and she will keep young Seo-yeon trapped in her house for her whole life. In 2019, we see last frame of the movie: Seo-yeon is still a prisoner in the basement.

The movie didn’t have an happy ending. On the contrary, it has the worst ending for Seo-yeon, who ends up living her entire life as the prisoner of a serial killer that she helped to not get caught, from the future.

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