On the face of it, this episode has all the right ingredients to make it one of the better stories, though for some reason it doesn’t resonate as much as it should. I can’t really put my finger on why this is, but something just doesn’t elevate it into one of the highly thought of episodes.
It is well acted, and the story of the mysterious phone calls to the invalided old woman, which come with increasing regularity and slowly more recognisable words rather than silence, works well. The build up to the middle of the episode, where Elva has insisted her caller stop bothering her, and the phone company tracing the calls to the local graveyard, is good. Even the conclusion is done well, though having read Richard Matheson’s original short story “Long Distance Call” on which this is based, I like the ending of that better (where the caller says “I’ll be right over!”). And perhaps that is where my problem lies, in that I enjoyed the ending of the story more in its written form rather than the changes made for this episode. Still, this was an easy way to spend twenty-odd minutes.
Rating: Beware the midnight phone call. 4/5.