When a Stranger Calls (2006) Review
Written by: moviemaven
Okay so here I am again, your skeptic horror fan. I like to say that I watch the crap so you don't have to. I am also notorious for hating remakes. As a rule. Simon West's adaptation of this 1979 thriller is another in a long line of what I like to refer to as "Horror Lite" or "Bubblegum Horror" or even "Sorority Horror." That basically means that this fits into the mainstream idea of what horror is, at least since the likes of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Gore fans will be bored but those looking for a little mindless entertainment may be pleased.
It starts out creepy enough when we find ourselves at the scene of a gruesome crime where there was no murder weapon. You can only imagine what the cops must have found there. In fact you will have to because we don't get to see a thing. Be that as it may, it sets the scene for a potentially scary flick.
Jill Johnson is forced to babysit to pay back the money to her parents that used when she exceeded her alloted cell phone minutes. That may seem a little corny, but it does qualify the fact that she won't be able to use her cell phone when the trouble starts. As it turns out, that really wouldn't be necessary anyway, but hey, you have to cover your ass as a director in this time of advanced technology.
Things are going well and she is enjoying herself in the gorgeous home when she begins to receive disturbing, anonymous phone calls. It takes a while for the action to kick in, but when it does there are some pretty decent scares considering the fact that this film is rated PG-13 (another annoying trend). They are mostly jump scares and seasoned fans probably won't be addled in the least. But hey,what do you expect for PG-13?
The acting is nothing to write home about. Camilla Belle does an okay job considering the majority of her scenes are her alone. But, she tends to get a tad annoying while talking to the prank caller. Is it really necessary to say "I know it's you" every time this asshole rings the phone? I mean just how many prank callers should one expect in a typical evening? Apart from that, though, she does manage to convey that she is pretty freaked out. There are several other characters with a couple of minutes screentime each, but they are mostly throwaways that were apparently added to break up the monotony.
Now let's talk about some of the problems I had with this film.
- The parents (who do not know Jill) don't even bother to tell her the kids' names since they are asleep when she gets there. That seems odd to me.
- Pay attention to the clock in Tiffany's car. I believe somebody screwed up. (I just like pointing these things out).
- The police officer that Jill contacts when she is frightened doesn't seem very willing to help at first. As a rule, they will usually check out anything you report, especially if you say that someone is harassing you and may be watching you. I don't know of many officers that would shrug this off so easily.
Apart from all of this, it is not a terrible film. I think it may have even been a little exciting but I may never know since I was surrounded by FIFTEEN screaming sorority girls who are terrified of ringing phones and canaries. So I will say this. If you are looking for some mild horror with a few jump scares, this may be the film for you. But if you are a fan of real horror who is looking for the next big thrill, stay away from this one or wait for the DVD release. You might even consider renting the first one and being done with it. The house in this one has some really cool appointments, but the creep factor is much higher in the original.