“Private Number” begins as a haunted-house flick in which phones inexplicably ring at 2:44 a.m. every day and an ominous voice on the other end asks, “Remember me?”
It takes more than 30 minutes of running time before Michael Lane (Hal Ozsan) finally considers unplugging the phones. When they continue to ring, he boards up doors and holes up with a pistol when he might be better off calling for an exorcism.
Michael is a recovering alcoholic suffering from writer’s block, and he’s experiencing voices and visions previously heard and seen only while he was inebriated. Real-life recovering addict Tom Sizemore, meanwhile, plays an Alcoholics Anonymous leader.
After some sleuthing, Michael determines that the calls come from victims of a serial killer. Nothing prepares you for the climactic plot twist precisely because nothing here adds up. The film feels like scenes from different screenplays cobbled together without the rough edges polished off. LazRael Lison’s direction and Ozsan’s performance lack the cohesion to hold it all together.
MPAA rating: R for violence, grisly images, language.
Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes.
Playing: Los Feliz 3, Los Angeles. Also on VOD.