When a Stranger Calls (2006) Review
Written by: chad langen
Apparently the PG-13 era is still having a strong run looking back on some of the recent releases within the last few years and Sony Pictures seems to be having the most success. The studio hit it big with their Japanese remake The Grudge and even managed to rake in a reasonable amount of cash with their poorly manifested pile of garbage entitled The Fog.
I must say, after the negative criticism surrounding Sony’s latest flick (which is, you guessed it, another remake) prior to its release, I most definitely wasn’t planning on landing a spot in the theater come opening weekend. However, I fell for the serpents’ lies (serpents being my friends) and ended up checking it out anyway. Commentary cut short, I enjoyed When A Stranger Calls. The suspense was nerve shattering and I found myself in a state of mind that I haven’t experienced with a PG-13 flick since The Ring. I was actually asking myself “what’s going to happen next”? If you’ve seen the original film then you know that it is based upon an urban legend in which a babysitter receives strange calls from a man asking her if she’s checked the children lately.
The remake is almost reminiscent. In fact, the only difference between the two, according to various sources of mine, is the era. The fashions have changed, the technology, and the fact that young girls just can’t act anymore. Nothing personal, but I just didn’t find the leading lady very believable. Then again, I wasn’t expecting an Oscar performance to begin with. The scenes were believable which is what I thought created the most suspense. The fact that this girl is all alone in a secluded surrounding with nobody to help her really makes you ask yourself “What would I do in a situation like that”? And although I wasn’t real pleased with Camilla Belle’s performance, I did feel that her actions were for the most part realistic. It’s amazing to me how this type of film can still keep the audience’s interest. The setting is limited which means there’s really not much place to go when the character is in danger.
Jake Wade Wall (screenwriter) does a good job in thinking up the situations and this leaves us wondering where the character will go next. My hat also goes of to Mr. Wall for giving us believable dialogue for once (meaning, none of that cheesy 12 year old junior high talk that I’m always complaining about). Let’s see, I guess we’ll move onto the directing. All I can really say about that is it’s just average. Nothing absolutely brilliant but nothing absolutely dreadful either. The shots were clean, the cuts were well done, however that would fall under the editor’s job come to think of it but whatever. In this such case the director does what he’s there for, he points and shoots.
I think that pretty much sums it up. I won’t even discuss the acting for there was really only one actor on screen for 99 percent of the time and I’ve already stated my opinion regarding her. So all in all, When A Stranger Calls is you typical remake in the long string of remakes whose only reason to be made was to make a little cash. In this case, the good outweighed the bad and I for the most part found the film entertaining. I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone, however, for remakes haven’t made a good name for themselves especially in the horror genre. You’d might be better off just picking this one up on DVD.