Hallmark and Netflix Christmas movies may be unimaginative and predictable, but at least they only come out once a year. On the other hand, Tubi seems intent on unloading a steady stream of ‘original’ thrillers on what feels like an almost weekly basis. However, with titles like Requiem for a Scream, Sinister Assistant, and The Haunting of Julia Fields, there’s some debate as to their originality. With Halloween fast approaching, Tubi’s latest offering, Sorry Charlie, boasts what at least seems like a creepy premise. At the moment, however, there are no reviews available.
Several months ago, a mysterious masked man, referred to as ‘The Gentleman’, brutally assaulted Charlie, leaving her barely alive. A serial murderer and rapist, The Gentleman lures women using an audio-recorded sound of a baby crying. Now police believe they arrested the killer who’s awaiting trial. And Charlie lives a remote existence working as a telephone helpline volunteer. But when she starts getting perverse phone calls from a mysterious man, Charlie fears that police have arrested the wrong man – and that the real Gentleman has found her.
Sorry Charlie Fails to Distinguish Itself From Other Tubi Thrillers
From its opening scene, Sorry Charlie looks like its going to reach for a little more than most Tubi originals. If you ignore writer Luke Genton’s questionable – and maybe a bit sexist – premise about maternal instinct, the first scene approaches being creepy. Of course, the formula the free streaming platform seems to use is a micro-budgeted ‘Blumhouse‘ approach to ‘high concept’ ideas. If Sorry Charlie seems to have a high concept premise, the remainder of its story is remarkably derivative. Nothing happens here that you haven’t seen in countless thrillers and slashers. Did the police arrest the wrong man? We wouldn’t have a movie if that wasn’t the case. Could the perverted anonymous male caller be The Gentleman? Don’t expect any surprises.
If Sorry Charlie seems to have a high concept premise, the remainder of its story is remarkably derivative.
Expect to find bits of other – and better – movies including Hush and The Strangers, to name a couple of examples. The narrative choice to make The Gentleman a serial rapist who leaves Charlie alive to carry a baby is risky. While it’s a story direction that could have been incredibly exploitative, Sorry Charlie never feels like a scuzzy Grindhouse thriller. Yet it’s still a creative decision that may be limit its audience. By its final act, Genton and director Colton Tran (Snow Falls) do try to throw in a last-minute twist that feels contrived. Some viewers may be surprised; veteran horror fans will see it coming a mile away.
Sorry Charlie Feels Long Even If It’s Only 85 Minutes in Length
Maybe Sorry Charlie would have been a more interesting thriller if it had tapped into some B-movie exploitation vibes. As it stands, Tran and Genton can’t seem to decide what kind of movie they’re making here. Despite a masked killer who looks perfect for a slasher movie, Sorry Charlie has no body count whatsoever, so it doesn’t qualify for the subgenre. On the surface, it’s a home invasion thriller, except there’s very little of the ‘siege and stalk’ to quality among even the least of that subgenre. In fact, Sorry Charlie has very little going on for long stretches and, even at just 85 minutes, feels slow and plodding.
Despite a masked killer who looks perfect for a slasher movie, Sorry Charlie has no body count whatsoever, so it doesn’t qualify for the subgenre.
Arguably, Sorry Charlie is a thin, familiar story that takes itself too seriously. There just isn’t the emotional core to this thriller to justify such a serious approach. Much of the thriller leans on Kathleen Kenny’s performance as ‘Charlie’ given that she’s really the only character on screen for the entirety of the movie. Kenny isn’t bad in the role, but she lacks the emotional range to carry a thriller that’s dull and predictable. And while The Gentleman has an admittedly interesting look, the character is every bit as dull as the movie itself.
Sorry, Charlie Better Than Most Tubi Originals, But Falls Short of Being a Good Movie
Though it’s not a high hurdle to clear, Sorry Charlie is probably one of the better Tubi originals released this year. At least Colton Tran and Luke Genton try to do something interesting with what’s a very derivative thriller story. And yes, this thriller is an absolute cookie-cutter of a movie. It also doesn’t help that the execution is flat – not much of interest happens over its lean runtime. A dull protagonist and forgettable villain – despite an interesting visual look – don’t help either. It’s more watchable than most of the original movies on Tubi, but it’s ultimately a forgettable effort.