Fiona’s (Kelly Voke) father passed away before she was old enough to get to know him. However, years later, a man calls Fiona’s boyfriend claiming to be her father. Before this mysterious man (Dave Perez) can understand what’s going on or fully express to Fiona what is happening, he is brutally murdered. As he’s dying, the only words he can muster are “Who Was Phone?” Now, with no leads and an inept detective heading the investigation, Fiona, and those closest to her, must be on the lookout for the deranged killer who is targeting them.
There are about a thousand different reasons as to why David and Steve Daan’s Who Was Phone? sucks. The acting, setting, plotline, dialogue, and numerous other aspects of the film make it difficult to recommend. Except for the opening scene, everything about the movie feels purposefully bad. So, why did I enjoy what is being done here? Well, it appears that the subpar aspects of the movie are intentionally bad and that the Daan Brothers worked incredibly hard to develop a film that possesses hardly any positive qualities. Understanding that this may very well have been the Daan Brothers’ objective brings to light the fact that they have met and surpassed their goals.
“Fiona, and those closest to her, must be on the lookout for the deranged killer who is targeting them.”
Early on, it appeared that everything that is done throughout Who Was Phone? is done ironically. Viewers are meant to feel berated by the remedial dialogue, disconnected from the banal characters, and intensely bored from the sadistic clichéd nature of the plot. The cluster jam of frustratingly bad elements somehow manages to create a level of acceptance among viewers. I grappled with the idea that I was trying too hard to appreciate the ridiculousness of Who Was Phone? and eventually came to the conclusion that this film is, in fact, a (very) low-key genius. When I finally came to terms with the fact that Who Was Phone? is entertainment in its simplest form, I could appreciate what the Daan Brothers accomplished. In more ways than one, Who Was Phone? is comparable to films such as Birdemic and Zombeavers, explaining how both deeply flawed and brilliantly quirky it is.
As the absurdities of Who Was Phone? unfolds before the viewers’ eyes, a combination of disgust and admiration is imminent. Disgust because of how ridiculous and weirdly uneventful this story of manipulation and death plays out. Admiration because the heart and soul poured into Who Was Phone? is so evident that viewers can’t help but appreciate what is taking place on some level. A myriad of absurd pop-culture references act as the glue between viewer and story and manage to be one of the primary reasons why they can appreciate the film. The Daan Brothers write, direct, and star in a movie so intentionally bad that the audience can’t help but wonder what they have planned next.
"…... a combination of disgust and admiration is imminent."