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  • Critics and audiences both pretty much panned this movie, but I actually didn't think it was too bad! Even the critics I normally agree with thought it was crap, and I normally despise PG-13 "horror films." So this means one of two things: either (1) I'm too easily pleased, and my taste in movies has dwindled over the years, or (2) 'When a Stranger Calls' isn't nearly as horrible as it's made out to be. Now, to be fair, some of the criticisms of the movie are true--there's not much character development, and not much happens in the story. But man alive folks, how much were you expecting from a movie about a babysitter being stalked? Cut them some slack! As a former babysitter who was watching this flick late at night with the lights out, I can safely say the stalker dude was one creepy mofo! Who knows? I guess stuff like this just gives me the willies.

    Yes, I admit I had fun watching this, and I don't care how big of a minority that puts me in. ;)
  • notcrack15 June 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    I liked this movie. I'm not a big horror movie buff so i couldn't comment on similarities between this and other movies of this genre, but i found this movie quite captivating. the story line, albeit a little obvious, had some genuinely scary/tense moments and the acting (particually of the lead female role) wasn't bad in anyway

    Overall i'm a little surprised at the low rating this movie has gotten. I watch a lot of movies (working in a video store tends to help) and this really isn't as bad as people seem to think. I do have some criticism though. The final call from the cop was terrible, almost overacted, the dead girl in the bathroom looked liked she was having a little sleep (probably from the amount of tequila she mentioned she drank) and the children's reaction to what was happening instilled in me the hope that they were ultimately killed

    hope this helps some people
  • Rathko13 February 2006
    I'm starting to wonder if all these PG-13 horror movies are just glorified screen tests for young and emerging talent. Get a first-time screenwriter, an inexperienced director, a few TV actors looking for their bigscreen break and see what they can do. 'When a Stranger Calls' is a little better than most such recent offerings, but is still completely by-the-book; riddled with plot holes and genre clichés.

    The story is unbelievably simplistic. The slim 87 minute running time is heavily padded with inconsequential friends and a pointless cheating boyfriend. The killer is devoid of even the token motivation of Jason or Michael or even the original movie's killer, and as a result is never particularly frightening. The police behave in such an unbelievably ineffectual and lazy manner as to verge on professional misconduct. Simon West brings the same attractive banality to proceedings that he managed with Lara Croft, but his style of directing is decidedly generic, possessing no indicators of real talent or vision. The performances are routine, dark hallways replace genuine horror, and the scares are of the tired cat-in-the-closet variety.

    The cinematography and production design, however, are above average for this kind of film. The house is beautifully designed, all dark wood and glassy reflections, and there are a few moments that are of visual interest.

    Though lacking an ounce of dramatic originality, it acts as a reasonably satisfying 'dark house' thriller, and maintains interest longer than most of its ilk.
  • Having seen the original when I was 13 (and, yes, I was stupid enough to watch it while babysitting!), I was excited to see this remake.

    Camilla Bell did a great job as Jill Johnson. And the fact that a teen horror flick could be made in the year 2006 without tremendous vulgarity and gore, made it even that much stronger of a film. I had a great time trying not to chew my fingernails off!

    This film won't win anyone an Oscar, but it is entertaining and worth the matinée price ticket I bought to see it. I think girls around the world should watch the original and the remake...and then determine to never babysit again.

    All I can say is, I'm glad I'm too old to babysit! There's just something about being in a dark creepy house with sleeping kids that makes this movie classic. No blood, no gore...just good psychological fun! WINNER!
  • With all the shoot em up, blood horror movies that have come our way in the last little while "Saw, Hostal, Saw 2, The Hills have eyes" Yes, they have their place, don't get me wrong! I went to see "When a stranger calls" with my buddy the other night! Why? Because it's a remake of the 1979 classic, which at the time was excellent and scared the you know what out of everyone! I didn't know what to expect. However I was pleasantly surprised! It was a film made of mood, atmosphere, suspense! Because remember people, what you can't see, what you think you see, what you can't hear, or what you think you hear, is far more scarier then what you do! If you love films with mood, creepiness, suspense and atmosphere!! You'll love it! It brought it back to the roots of the original Halloween. Thumbs up, a solid 8.5 out of 10 Remember folks, it's well done! not perfect! It's spooky, not bloody, It's creepy, not gory! It was nice to see a film come a long like this. Our minds have been conditioned and warped by the glitz and shock value of modern day horror movies, we forget, what's really scary.
  • Im a big horror fan and I quite enjoyed this remake. With all these horror remakes floating about I think this is one of the better attempts.

    I watched it with my two little sisters and I think it made it even better as they were quite scared. Also with the shouting at the screen "Dont do that!", "Not that way!", etc. I thought there were some good little jumpy moments and it built the tension well.

    Camilla Belle is absolutely stunning in the lead role and a very good actress - So she holds your attention well.

    Overall a decent film.
  • While babysitting at an isolated Colorado house, a teen girl is terrorized by an elusive murderer on the telephone.

    Remake of the 1979 semi-classic horror film basically takes the opening 20 minutes of the original film and stretches it out to fit an 87 minute time span! So it's pretty needless to say that the plot of this remake is pretty thin. There's little in the way of originality or interest in this movie. There's a lot of Camilla Belle wondering around a dark house wondering who's calling her and encountering all kinds of false scares. It all gets repetitious and routine after the first 30 minutes and never manages to muster up much in the way of suspense or chills. It certainly never reaches the intensity of the original film, especially since it wimps-out and changes one important plot point from the original. I guess we have the PG-13 rating to thank for that.

    On the plus side there's an impressive set design and some dark atmosphere, unfortunately there's not much going on around it to save this remake from being sub-par. Belle's performance is pretty mediocre too.

    It's just another unimpressive remake.

    * 1/2 out of ****
  • Once in a great while I will watch a movie that completely surprises me. One that comes out of nowhere to be a bit of rousing entertainment. One that is pure fun from beginning to end. Well folks, When A Stranger Calls is NOT that movie. It is an unbelievable stupid and far fetched remake of the much better 1979 horror camp classic. Our lead heroine Jill is forced to babysit after going over her cell phone minutes and is harassed by telephone calls from a mysterious caller. Every cliché in the world is used here from the stupid cat-jumping-out-of-a-hidden-spot to the car that won't start to the killer can be anywhere at anytime. This movie is bad...not even bad in a "so bad it's good way" more in a "so bad it's boring way." Skip this godawful film and save your movie for something else. You'll thank me later, trust me on this. Grade: D-
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I don't watch very many 'horror' movies, but one night I sat down and watched this with my cousins. Now, we're teenagers, so we tend to make fun of a lot of things, but honestly, the acting here really wasn't very good, especially at the beginning. One line that stood out was when Scarlett says to Jill and Tiffany, "This is so... high school!" while the next scene shows Jill walking past a sign with their High School name on it... Many parts at the beginning reminded me of a corny, badly-written, badly-acted Lizzie McGuire episode. However, as the story progressed, and the cast moved on to just about only Jill most of the time, I was able to appreciate the movie more. Camilla Belle did really well in this movie, and I think that the other actors and actresses ruined the movie for her. And I must admit, this was one of the scariest movies I've ever seen. Well, no, there weren't big monsters and white faces appearing in dark corners and possessed dolls, but the thing that made this movie scarier than ones containing those things is that it really could happen. And this movie really reminded me of what really IS scary... We all know we're not likely to stumble upon the living dead any time in our lives, but the idea of having a murderer inside the house you're babysitting at could really happen. The only flaw with this movie is that it's one of the most cliché movies I've ever seen. It has everything in it that any horror movie has ever had- turning the keys and the car starts, shadows in the corner, turning the corners of the stairs with suspense, turning around and seeing a dead body, ending a fatal scene quickly with waking up from a dream, etc. At the suspenseful scenes, it was very predictable, but overall, I would give it a 7/10. It's definitely worth seeing.

    By the way, This is my first review, so I don't know if any of those things were spoilers.. But just to be safe...
  • and i really wanted to hate it. i so adored the original and found it offensive that it was being remade, that whole 'you cant mess with perfection' idea in my head. i came away from it with the distinct impression that the director had only the highest regard for the original film and total respect for the filmmaker. the new version tries to update the story for the 21st century and actually has some interesting takes on how modern technology can be used for scary elements. the smart house motion sensored lights added a nice touch as did caller id when its not who it says it is! although they tried too hard to bulk up the story with unnecessary side nonense and the timing was off, i give the man high marks for effort and his obvious attention to the integrity of the original work.
  • horrorfreak91210 February 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    This movie had potential to be a good little high school thriller. Instead, we got a bore fest about a whiny, spoiled brat babysitting. The problem was there were too many unnecessary things. A fight with the boyfriend, random friends coming over to be killed. It was obvious they were just killing time. The main character was bland and uninteresting. Camilla Bell had no emotion during this movie. She was just there. Another problem was the fact that the killer was not a threat. The children survive, so it's obvious they are going to let Jill survive. The only reason this got a four was because the last ten minutes (when the killer FINALLY comes out) is actually exciting.

  • Warning: Spoilers
    What should have been a routine babysitting gig at a secluded lake house turns into a night of terror, as high school student Jill Johnson (Camilla Belle) receives threatening phone calls from a sadistic stalker, while trying to stay one step ahead of him.

    The first 20 minutes of the original film were pretty good but it was all downhill from there. The remake takes those first 20 minutes and stretches them into an 80 minute feature film. That's a good idea because its eliminating everything that made the original bad. However, if they wanted this film to work more effectively then they should have hired a better lead actress, better director, writer etc. There's no suspense, everything can be figured out long before it happens and it's a very dull film since not much happens. At least there isn't much to sit through since its less than 90 minutes.

    If this premise were to work, then the lead actress has to give a realistic performance. Camilla Belle gives one of the worst performances I have ever seen and throughout the whole movie, she seemed to be reading her lines. You get a lead role in a Hollywood film that will be viewed by millions of people and you give no effort at all! Why did they hire this girl? Sure, she's pretty but she can't act at all yet I suppose this won't matter to the target audience who will most likely eat this film up. The rest of the cast is bland and forgettable especially the woman who plays the maid, Rosa. Even the stranger was lame and his lines on the phone were not effective at all.

    This movie reminds me of last years disappointing horror film Boogeyman. That movie was a bunch of cheap scares and false alarms and When a Stranger Calls is pretty much the same. Jill enters a room because she hears a noise but its just a false alarm like a cat or the maid. This type of scene happens over and over again until finally after about 50 minutes, the stranger appears. He has to be one of the lamest killers ever. He carried no weapons and didn't seem to pose much of a threat. The ending is bad but it matches the rest of the film so it doesn't really matter. The film is directed by Simon West and he is really bad at building up suspense. He was using every cliché he could think of and the results weren't very good. The house was amazing and I'll give the film credit for that. It was an isolated house so it was pretty creepy but that's about the only good thing this film has to offer. In the end, if you're not a teenage girl then you should skip the movie. Rating 2/10
  • vlada011-115 July 2006
    I was surprised that this movie is so poorly rated. I think it is excellent and so refreshing in the horror genre. The story itself is old and familiar but the director, leading actress and everybody else who participated in producing of this movie made something new. I certainly wasn't bored although the movie is slow and nobody gets killed every ten minutes like in every other horror movie. The best way to describe it is to compare it to Hitchcock movies. The tension slowly gathers and culminates in the end.I think that most people did not expect that if they were watching trailer, which would be a great mistake to make because you will almost see the ending and it just spoils the fun.Really, who makes this trailers, it is like movie-a-minute.
  • malidog5 February 2006
    I'm not even get creative with the review. it sucked.

    The use of this amazing house, waste of time. It was a distraction by the director to give you something interesting or pretty to look at.

    Camilla Belle has about as much charisma and screen presence as my last yeast infection.

    Simon West's DGA card needs to be confiscated.

    I hate whoever greenlit this.

    I did not pay to see it. I snuck in.

    Hollywood please stop.

    Seriously, no more garbage.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Well I was 16 when this released and I saw it without knowing anything about the plot and I had a crush on the very pretty and cute Camilla Belle after seeing the movie. So, this is one of my ultimate guilty pleasures and I will always love this film. This was coming on TV the other night and I just saw it again for the 6th time without a second thought. I hope you will watch it without any preconceived bad false notions about it.

    Jill Johnson (Camilla Belle) is a high school girl who is on the track team and one of her best friend has kissed her boyfriend. So, she breaks up with him and refuses to talk to her friend. She has also talked too much on the phone, like 800 extra minutes, and her dad makes her to babysit to earn her money so she can pay off her own bills. She has to babysit Dr and Mrs. Mandrakis's (Derek de Lint and Kate Jennings Grant) kids and they live in a huge lakeside house. Things start to get a bit creepy when a stranger (Tommy Flanagan) keeps on calling Jill and seems to be spying on her. She can't find the house maid and the police don't give much thought to her predicament.

    Though there are many films of this kind out there, the studios just keep on churning them out every year. Do you know why? It is because every year new kids step into their teens and they would not see old movies of this kind. So, this will be new for them and a babysitter who is stalked by a psycho killer is pretty horrifying if you have ever babysat in a house which makes some creepy noises. Almost every kid will connect with that. Camilla was good in her role, though many have complained that she didn't portray her fear very well. Well, what do I know; maybe some girls don't like to show they are afraid of the killer (ring a bell?) I am a guy, so don't think only girls or young boys will be afraid of this film. The first time I saw the film, I was horrified and wanted Jill to get out of the house, away from the killer. Now, its more like a pleasure to see her and the beautiful mansion once again. That house is huge with all the modern securities and gadgets within it.

    The opening scene is very chilling and the director tries very hard to give us false jump scares which were quite annoying with repeated viewings actually. The decor of the house was magnificent, with the bird sanctuary or something within the house and a beautiful lake outside. The atmosphere is very eerie because of the magnitude of this house. I have to say, Jill is a very lax babysitter. She doesn't even check on the kids until the prank caller asks her about them. The adults in the film are not given much scope for acting. Even the stranger, Tommy Flanagan is just a caricature. They could have at least given him some kind of weapon to show us how he killed his victims. That's the only slight flaw I found in my first few viewings. Jill's friends are dumb and boring, at best. I wanted them to finish their scenes more quickly so that Jill had more screen time, without their distractions. The kids were not used properly in the film, though. This film doesn't have an ounce of sexual tension, which was quite surprising and I was happy with that (Many pg-13 movies make the actresses run around in their underwear). Don't let the rating on IMDb fool you. This is quite a good suspense thriller for us youngsters.

  • Warning: Spoilers
    Don't listen to most of these people. ill give you a better review of this movie which me and my friend love! Its about Jill Johnson, played by Camilla Belle, who babysits at the Mendrakis' house and someone breaks in. if you're wondering how he got in the house, he went through the garage most likely. so anyway, don't listen to, "the worst acting". it has amazing acting. with a great story. I think that there are 2 benefits that Jill has. 1. shes a fast runner and is on the track team. 2.she got out alive! lol.

    it is a cool movie and quite scary. check it out, you will be happy with this masterpiece. don't listen to the other people on the site. its very good. trust me, i am good at reviewing movies. I'm a future movie critic. i totally want to buy this movie. and you will too when you see it. it is amazingly awesome.
  • I'm probably going to get a lot of grief for this, but I was personally scared witless. Right from the get-go, from the terrifying opening I wasn't expecting to the chilling ending, the suspense kicks in and doesn't let up. Though it was fairly easy to predict who was going to die and who wasn't, it didn't make the deaths any less scarier or shocking. The story is simple enough: Jill Johnson is your every-day, average sixteen-year-old girl going through a rough time with her friend and boyfriend which caused her to go so far over her cell phone minutes that her parents grounded her for a month, taking away her cell phone and her car. She must pay them back by babysitting for Dr. Mandrakis and his wife at their enormous hill-set home. When she arrives it's obvious that it will be an easy night: the kids are already asleep and she has access to everything that the house has to offer, including a well-stocked fridge, TV and stereo, and a koi pond/aviary in the middle of the house. However, it isn't long before the phone calls start. Sometimes it's just heavy breathing, sometimes it's a little talking, but they don't last for more than a few seconds. Jill finally gets exasperated and calls the police, but calms down when she realizes that the family's maid is still in the house. However, when the caller asks, "Have you checked the children?" Jill gets annoyed and treks upstairs to find the kids safe in their bed. It's not until two seconds later that the phone rings asking, "How were the children?" that Jill really starts to freak out. The twist about the caller is revealed in the trailer, but it doesn't take from the suspense at all. A feature that the house has is motion-sensitive lights, which turn on upon entry in the room. I thought this would take away from the suspense because you'd know where someone was at all times, but it doesn't at all, and is in fact used in one extremely suspenseful scene very masterfully. All in all, I thought the movie was very well made, and I will definitely go see it again. I highly recommend it, if you can let go of the improbable premise, which maybe isn't so improbable after all...
  • Warning: Spoilers
    While i read all of the complaints about this movie before i saw it, i still had interest from the preview. I don't know if it was because i was expecting a bomb or what, but i really enjoyed the movie. The I was not very frightened at all until the second half of the movie, but even then it wasn't very bad at all. I think that most of the scenes and false alarms were realistic, if a little too coincidental, but it was necessary to move the story along. I think that the house and surrounding area is the perfect setting for this type of movie, it is beautiful and huge, but then the same qualities that are attractive become scary. I also think that the light arrangement worked extremely well because not only did they turn on upon entry, but there was no way to keep them on, so the house stayed dark outside of the small section Jill was in.

    Speaking of Jill, i thought her part was acted pretty well, at first it wasn't as believable, but after a few phone calls it was fine. In fact the scenes where she is frightened are acted perfectly. And, finally, someone got the fire poker right. I can't tell you how many times when i hear a noise at my house i grab the fire poker, and it was a nice touch for her to do the same, even though she idiotically forgets it when she needs it most.

    In regards to the plot holes, the movie is not perfect but almost every hole can be explained, and part of the mystery is how he got in..exactly, how long was he watching her? how did he get out to kill her friend? and when exactly did the gardener die? overall, i enjoyed it and i was surprised how quickly it went. It kept my attention, and i wanted to see how it ended, although the ending was very brief and left a bad taste in my mouth. My only complaint, other than the ending, was the lack of character development. They could have added ten minutes with her and her friends or something to make us feel bad for her situation more, to give us a taste of her personality and to give us foreshadowing to how she will handle the situation(for example, the scene where she debates whether to go back for the kids, it looks like some scene is missing at the beginning that talked about her only caring about herself or something).
  • 4.2 What? What is with a 4.2? Too hard on the film. The movie is not a Scream type film. I was surprised. The movie makers did a film in a way that could actually happen. I like the concept! Not a fantasy Scream style film. A nice break in the horror movie filming. The over the top stunts, and blood is replaced with the sick mind and tension of a predator. A slow burn. The story has many little extras. I would watch the movie again. I guess the urban legend has killed the plot twists. If one does not know the story the better the film will unravel. The Colorado back drop is lovely but spooky at the same time. The woods and the cabin feel of the house give a wild and unsafe what is in the woods lurking atmosphere. 7 or 8 out of 10. Worth cheap night. A Friday night date movie. I would buy the movie for 9.99 at Wal-Mart.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Wow, was I surprised at the extremely low IMDb rating of this movie remake WHEN A STRANGER CALLS (2006) This is actually one of the few horror movies that thoroughly entertained and involved me from beginning to end in a long time! For me, I really liked the isolated location, that lakeside house in the middle of seemingly nowhere. And the movie has real atmosphere thanks to a very creepy score. Plus, the cinematography is way better than most you'd see in a movie like this. But the main draw of the film is it's dedication to SLOW, methodical building suspense! And yet it never gets boring.

    Another HUGE plus working in the film's favor is that the main character Jill Johnson (authentically portrayed by ingénue beauty Camilla Belle) seems like a real CHARACTER! A major key to the reason why this film works is that we get a snippet of the current trials of Jill, just enough for us to want to identify with, empathize with, and finally root for her character to succeed in the end. The filmmakers definitely put good thought into this one.

    I'm surprised at so many negative reviews of Belle's acting. Actually, she was pretty good and carries the movie very well. It's refreshing to have the female lead of a horror flick not be just any random, nondescript, dime-a-dozen, blonde bimbo that we've seen THOUSANDS of examples in horror flicks! Jill is a relatable, normal teenager that has a few minor problems (cheating boyfriend, dubious best girlfriend, semi-stern dad) and this makes her much more identifiable to the viewer. WE could see ourselves going through this, too! But the main thing is that Belle's demeanor mimics the trajectory of the film...Jill went from blissful ignorance and nonchalance early on to slow-building tension at the midway point to all-out terrified at the end! She performed her part very well.

    Although a remake to a more famous movie, this 2006 version of WHEN A STRANGER CALLS succeeds where most modern horrors fail in that it is no-nonsense, old-fashioned stylish suspense that slowly builds to a tense, exciting crescendo. It is an immensely re-watchable flick...Trust me!
  • I have seen reviews about this film saying it was not so great, I went to see it myself anyway and actually really enjoyed the film! It was really one of the best scary movies I have seen in awhile! it had a plot! it was really creepy, it left you wanting more and wasn't all about sex like a lot of movie are today. besides who can honestly tell you if your going to like a movie,

    we're all different so don't always rely on someones opinions of a movie then miss out on something u might have liked! So do yourself a favor and check this movie out and decide for yourself if you like it or not!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie brings back a lot of memories. I remember me and two friends saw this at the theater and it was the best experience I ever had at a movie. People were screaming. These teenage girls where screaming. It was fun. That's why horror movies are the best. This is one of the scariest movies I have ever seen, next to 'Halloween' and 'Halloween 2'. My face completely turned white. One of the best horror movies ever made. The ending was insane. You actually yell at the screen telling the main character not to do something. You never expect the scares. This movie deserves better ratings! Why so much hate? Is it because it's a remake? I have never even heard of the original movie until this came out, that's what remakes do. What else can I say? Great suspense, great memories from this, Camilla Bell was hot in this movie, everything about this movie is perfect you wouldn't wanna change anything about it. I never babysat after I saw this. If you are with your boyfriend/girlfriend and you wanna watch a scary movie I highly recommend this! I highly recommend it! Give it a shot! Don't be shy! If your up for a good scare give this movie a try!
  • The first 20 minutes of the classic 70's shocker When a stranger calls was among the most terrifying ever filmed. But the film quickly fell into putrid nonsense only to pick up some slight fear factor once again in the last ten minutes. The sequel follow in it's predecessor's footsteps it had a killer beginning and than just became a bore afterwards only to end with a bang. So it's safe to say that my expectations weren't very high add that to the fact that Simon West director of the horrid Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was in charge and I pretty much gave up. However, I'm happy to report I was wrong. This new version of "stranger" manages to elaborate on the originals fear. Sure it's not the best movie and it's chock full of standard horror clichés and sound effects but the film certainly delivers. From the moment it horrifyingly begins when a babysitter and her children are brutally murdered next to a carnival it mounts the dread. We than meet Jill Johnson played confidantly by beautiful Camilla Belle. She has just broken up with her boyfriend for kissing her best friend and is grounded because she went way over the minutes on her cell phone. Her punishment is simple to babysit in the middle of nowhere so that she can begin to make some money to pay off the cell phone bill. It starts out scary enough as she circles the huge stylish house and than the phone calls begin asking her if she's checked the children. At first she takes it light hearted enough assuming it's a prank. But than the terror begins to escalate with strange sounds, unexpected visits and more phone calls leading up to a terrifying revelation and some standard issue thriller cat and mouse chasing. Now although not totally successful in it's effect the film cleverly takes the originals terrifying 20 minutes and stretches them out for an hour and 23 minutes. It's short , sweet and terrifying. The film doesn't offer anything new to witness but it offers the standard with zest and confidance and the standard horror house clichés work so well when executed properly. By the numbers with a scream! ***1/2 (out of five)
  • ktr8rmv81417 May 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    I bought the DVD yesterday and watched it. I thought the movie was pretty average when a saw it early 2006. I bought it and watched it. I really liked it much more. Knowing and understanding what this movie wanted to convey, I got much more out of it. I don't like the fact that this movie was made out and thought of to be a horror movie when it first came out. It's a psychological thriller. THRILLER. So don't expect the gore blood n' guts stuff. It isn't a slasher. Sure, it was Pg-13 and limited but it was still good. There were some deaths and a little bit of blood here and there. A lot of people thought it was stupid because they didn't find out who the killer was. Hence the name it got...when a stranger calls. What the movie was trying to convey was imagination and mind tricks. When we're alone or scared, we imagine things that scare the hell out of us sometimes. Our mind can be the worst at times. This movie is so real and that's what I like. I didn't even know who Camilla was until this movie and she does a good job. She conveys the average teenager very, VERY well. Her expressions were good as well, and heightened the tension in the movie. I thought it was cool what the director/writers did. They expanded the first 20 minutes of the original and made it into a feature film. The film was well shot and the lighting was wonderful. The movie also does something different. The HOUSE is an actual CHARACTER. It's beautiful and safe looking during the day, but at night it's hostile, uninviting, causing uncertainty and tension, not knowing what was coming. The ending could've been better and lasted longer, like maybe him coming after her again after he escapes, but nonetheless I liked the ending, kind of like CARRIE style. Hell, I would be traumatized too!! This was a pretty good movie, just watch it with an open mind and know that it's a THRILLER, and NOT HORROR, even more so, its more like a PSYCHOLOGICAL thriller. It kind of reminded me of last years Red-eye which I enjoyed very much as well. Watch this movie loud, the score was great and it had a great impact in the movie. Hopefully this helped.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When A Stranger Calls got a bit of a critical bashing when it was released back in February. I guess it was to be expected since most critics are a little hard on the horror genre in general but I was a bit surprised by the bashing it got from regular movie goers like you and I. It has a rather low 4.2 rating at IMDb and if you go to the message board on the site for this film the comments aren't too pretty. Despite this bashing it didn't stop the film from opening at number one and grossing almost 50 million dollars.

    I may be the minority, but I really think that most people were wrong about this one. It is by no means a perfect film but as a remake to an already flawed production i think it succeeds by being better than the original. Again I may be in the minority on that statement but after watching the original film the night before I saw this, I had a fresh perspective.

    The original When A Stranger Calls was released in 1979 ( a year after the superior Halloween) and was a moderate success based on its heart pounding opening 20 minutes. We've all heard the babysitter alone in the house while a madman calls her from inside the house urban legend and the film's opening toyed with our knowledge of this and did a good job of generating tension.

    The problem with the original is that once the 20 minute opening has passed, the film slows to a snail's pace. The middle of the film doesn't provide any thrills and you have to wait until the last 10 minutes for things to pick up again. If there was any film that needed to be plucked out of the remake box it was this film.

    The new version takes the opening 20 minutes and turns it into a 90 minute motion picture. This does present some problems because things get tedious after awhile but the best moments of the original translate well here and I for one thought it was a decent improvement.

    A babysitter, Jill Johnson (Camilla Belle), arrives at the lakeside Colorado home of Dr. and Mrs. Mandrakis (Derek de Lint and Kate Jennings Grant), to care for their two children while they do the "dinner and a movie" thing. Almost immediately, Jill begins to get ominous prank calls: heavy breathing and messages wondering if she has checked the children. Eventually, freaked out and unable to reach anyone by phone (her parents are at a concert and everyone from her high school is attending a bonfire party in a location that conveniently does not have cell service), she contacts the police. They trace the call and determine it's coming from within the house.

    This is a set-up that I don't think can get old. Both guys and girls know what it's like to be in the house alone sometimes and get suitably creeped out by every noise, creek, and motion of our home. the film toys with those fears but generating some decent tension early on. Some might get bored by the numerous scenes of Jill just walking around the house but I for one found them necessary to lead up the slam-bang final 20 minutes. It does get a little repetitive after awhile but for the most part it works.

    The house is also a character in and of itself. Glass houses tend to be creepy to me in general but since this home is in the middle of nowhere and is grand in stature, it tends to be even more frightening. The production designer should be proud of this creation because it's truly something.

    The final 20 minutes are also noteworthy. After all the build up we're rewarded with a nice game of cat and mouse between the Stranger and Jill. It helps that we see very little of him since he's mostly shown in shadow, thus making him truly more creepy. You can tell the original concept of Michael Myers from the first Halloween is a model for this stalker and if you're going to imitate someone, it might as well be the best of the bunch.

    The film truly falters on one major level and it's enough for me to bring the grade down to something just slightly above average. The performance of Camille Belle really drags the film down. I haven't seen her other films but she seems out of place here. Her interpretation of Jill is too juvenile and she cannot carry the film on her little shoulders. She seemed amateur throughout most of the film. She redeems herself a bit during the final 20 minutes but by that point it's too late to truly save her performance. Since we're left alone with her for much of the running time she has to win our sympathy and she doesn't. I got into the film merely because i kept wondering what i would do in that situation and not because I particularly cared about her.

    Despite this When A Stranger Calls is suitable entertainment. It's not the new horror de jour and it certainly won't go down as a classic by any means but it is better than the source material and for that reason alone I think you should give this film a bit of a chance before you dismiss it.
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