Sorry, Charlie (2023) Movie Review – Another Tubi Original Horror
A remote helpline volunteer is targeted by a stranger who lures women from their homes with a recording of a crying baby.
Welcome to Knockout Horror. We are taking a break from our K-O-Ween 31 Days of Halloween feature to bring you a review of a new movie. Don’t get too excited, though. It’s a Tubi Original. Yep, I am actually devoting time to a Tubi review while already reviewing 31 classic horror movies this month. I truly am a sucker for punishment. Anyways, we are taking a look at cat and mouse horror thriller Sorry, Charlie.
I am going to try and avoid using the words formulaic and familiar in this review but I fear I may fail. A lot of people seem to be enjoying this movie but I felt it was very “by the numbers”. It’s time to watch someone working from home for an hour. Let’s take a look. Before we start, if you are a sucker for bad Tubi horror like I am, why not take a look at some of our other Tubi reviews?
On a sidenote, if you have arrived here looking for a Sorry, Charlie ending explained article that goes way too in depth about the movie and about the “true story” that Sorry, Charlie is based on. You are in luck. Click right here to check out our Sorry, Charlie Ending Explained article but be warned, it contains spoilers.
Another Tubi Original
This horror movie follows the story of a notorious rapist, and occasional murderer depending on his mood, called the Gentleman. Luring unsuspecting women out of their houses using a recording of a crying baby. The gentleman pounces. A woman called Charlie who works on a remote helpline begins hearing crying outside of her house. Believing it may be the notorious killer, she sets about proving everyone who doubts her wrong.
This is another Tubi horror movie that claims to be based on true events. Is anyone else getting tired of this? So many movies claim it while having absolutely no factual proof at all. Still, it means I get to write Ending Explained articles for them to disprove their claims. Anyways, the story here has at least a tiny bit of a basis in reality. As I recall, a warning was put around a year or two ago in a part of the USA about not leaving the house if you hear a baby crying outside late at night. This, obviously, spread like wild fire on Reddit and numerous YouTube Reddit content farms ripped it off in their stories.
Based on a True Story…. A False True Story
Enter Colton Tran and writer Luke Genton to capitalise with their horror movie Sorry, Charlie which is, apparently, “based on a true story”. Yay! These two have collaborated before on the horror Snow Falls which has an enormous 2.7/10 on IMDB so this should be a good one.
Now I am not saying this concept is a bad one, it isn’t. It’s actually quite a good one. It’s a scary thought, particularly for women who live alone. And while the movie’s claim that the sound of a baby crying will provoke empathy in even people with no maternal or paternal instinct is a dubious one. Especially according to my fiancee and me who think it sounds like the worst noise ever. People hearing a lone baby at night are likely to be concerned purely out of a place of basic social conscience. Potentially leading them into bad situations.
The good news is, however, the story is almost entirely overblown. It came from a long debunked tale of a serial killer in Baton Rouge (Who Dat!!) luring unsuspecting people out of their homes using a recording of a baby crying. This never actually happened and while a serial killer was prowling Louisiana during this period. He was never using this technique to draw people into harm.
A few students in the South side of Pittsburgh recently reported hearing the sound of a baby crying outside of their accommodation. But in all known cases the police were contacted and no source could be found. Nobody was harmed. Reddit blew it out of all proportion because that’s what Reddit does with everything.
Just Not Very Scary
So “Sorry, Charlie” is basically spinning something that is little more than an urban myth into a “true story” for the sake of entertainment. In reality, the only people stupid enough to fall for this ridiculous ploy are the idiots that reside within this movie. And that’s where the film’s issues begin. It’s just not very scary.The concept could work quite well, I suppose, but does anyone believe it would work? If someone heard a baby crying outside their window they would call the police. In fact, this has happened, as mentioned above, and that is exactly what everybody involved did. They called the police.
If we ignore, for a minute, that this movie is basically an hour of watching someone working from home and focus on the scare factor. Nothing here really works. The crying baby recording falls flat immediately thanks to the silliness of the situation. But it is the fact that our antagonist is so poorly established and not very threatening that is the real problem. In fact, Tran does the absolute minimum to establish our killer. We simply know that he exists and we know that he is a bad dude and that is it. If it weren’t for the opening few minutes, and the news reporting on it, we wouldn’t have a clue who this dude was.
A Dull and Poorly Developed Antagonist
There is no build up to show the Gentleman luring out and attacking multiple people. There is no deep dive into whether or not he stalks his victims. And there is no real establishing of this person as being a threat. He’s just kind of there. When he begins phoning his victim, in this case our protagonist Charlie. You are left wondering whether or not you should care. I mean, sure, it must have been horrible for Charlie. But he isn’t scary to us. This isn’t Ghostface or Norman Bates. Those guys were given screen time and shown to be a threat by actually murdering people. The Gentleman isn’t afforded this treatment so why should we care?
It doesn’t help that the person who voices the Gentleman sounds like Sideshow Bob from the Simpsons. This movie had me cracking up repeatedly purely thanks to this alone. His attempts to unsettle Charlie are laughable and poorly written and when we see him in person it gets even worse.
The Gentleman looks like a crappy drawing that would feature as the thumbnail of an awful copypasta video on YouTube. A terrible papier-mâché mask and an awfully cheap looking suit and top hat. The Gentleman just looks a bit naff. Whoever is behind the mask seems to be very slightly built as well. Further impacting how imposing and frightening he feels. I’m 6 foot and a bit and would tower this dude. He’s just not that scary. Throw in some general bumbling and he becomes, almost, a joke.
Rough With The Smooth
With all of that being said, the movie does look fairly nice in parts. It’s well filmed and eschews the oh so common Tubi 16:9 format which I appreciate. Some of the lighting is good and people may appreciate some of the tension. The claustrophobic social setting also works okay but the movie does feel very similar to countless other babysitter stalker horror movies. Kathleen Kenny is strong in the lead role and Charlie is a legitimately likable protagonist who is easy to route for. The ending of the movie is a big surprise. Taking what the viewer may expect to happen and turning it on its head in a legitimately fun final 15 minutes that will provoke a few smiles and maybe a few fist pumps.
But to get there is something of a chore. The movie goes over countless horror cliches and repeats itself over and over again. I can’t count how many times Charlie left the house to check something outside, purely to build some tension. For someone who has been through a harrowing experience, she sure doesn’t learn fast. Without spoiling anything, there is one scene involving the killer and the protagonist that is pure silliness for how it plays out. It reminded me of a cat that can’t decide whether it wants to be in or out.
There is tons of foreshadowing for a movie that features a big twist, as well. A lot of what happens doesn’t make sense and there is a lot of wasted time spent engaging in inconsequential rhetoric and pointless dialogue. I just found it all a bit repetitive and a bit difficult to stay engaged with. At least the running time is short, though, at only 75 minutes.
This movie would have been dramatically improved simply by spending a bit more time building up our antagonist. Have him kill a few people on screen. Make him look scary. Redesign him entirely from head to toe and completely rewrite his motivations. Hire a different voice actor. Make the person wearing the suit look more intimidating…… You know what, never mind.
Final Thoughts and Score
Sorry, Charlie isn’t a terrible movie. It’s actually pretty watchable and some people will probably enjoy it a lot. It’s a great option as a horror-lite for people who don’t watch horror very often. But, if you are a horror vet, this is a movie that you have seen many times before. It doesn’t do anything unique or interesting outside of its ending, it’s a bit boring. It’s not very scary, our killer is dull and our protagonist is likable but a bit dumb. The ending redeems things but you have to drag yourself through so much horror cliche to get there. There’s bags of potential here but it didn’t quite do it for me.
If you need to wash the taste of Tubi horror out of your mouth. Why not take a look at our 31 Days of Halloween feature? 31 days of amazing horror curated by yours truly all leading up to Halloween 2023. You might actually find something worth watching. We also have a list of A Tubi 31 Days of Halloween for a free horror movie for each day of October.