ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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When a Stranger Calls (2006)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Simon West

Starring:
Camilla Belle/Jill
A creepy house
Phone rings that will drive you mad!
2 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Some cutsy teen "32 B" chick (Belle) in a bright orange shirt that will leave you blind an hour in, is babysitting for rich folks in a lavish house. She eventually gets harassed and stalked by some nut-less loon who’s more bark than bite. This film is a joke right? Is there a hidden camera following me around? Please tell me I’m being put on!
THE LOWDOWN
I was on my way out of my rat infested shit-hole of an apartment to go see When a Stranger Call (You know the PG 13 remake of the “okay” 1979 film?) when my phone rang. I picked it up and here’s what went down.

Arrow: Hello!

Caller: Heavy breathing…

Arrow: Hello!!!!

Caller: Heavy breathing…

Arrow: Is that you JoBlo? Stop your stalking broseph, I aint got your money!

Suddenly a deep creepy voice boomed out the phone.

Caller: You’re gonna suffer tonight twat.

Arrow: Oh great, another loser... how’s that champ?

Caller: You’re going to see an edgeless and meat-less film where the first hour is about fairly nothing. And I don't mean "Seinfeld" type of nothing. I mean a "we don't have a full length screenplay, so lets shamelessly stall as much as we can" type of nothing.

Arrow: Bullshit! The flick is an hour and a half! Its got to be about something!

Caller: Let me put it this way: The first hour consists of a girl alone in a house doing dick all. You'll want to bang the girl yes, since that's all you seem to think about, but you won't really ever care about her because her character is too underdeveloped. Then the pain begins, the phone rings non stop, silly boo jolts surface, girl yaps with her friends on the phone, girl gets prank "yawn" phone calls and strolls around the house non-stop instead of figuring out how to work the freaking TV. Heed my words, the evil that is redundancy will set within your veins quicker than quick and you will witness clock padding in a film like you never have before.

Arrow: LOL! I'm sure I've seen worse films tough guy! Mangler 2 baby!

Caller: You don’t get it yet do you? But you will…oh yes...you will…


Arrow: Can’t wait….tell me more please! Save me the trip and the dough!

Caller: You asked! You're going to see a movie, that will set up red herrings, situations and side characters, all with "some" potential to spruce up the storyline and then does practically zilch with them. A film so filled with plot holes that it will baffle your feeble mind. A film that will take a scene of a girl walking down a darkly lit corridor and stretch it and stretch it and stretch it until you slit your own throat with a Kit-Kat candy wrapper to end the agony!

Arrow: Okay…you done? I gotta book!

Caller: After that first hour of vacuous, goreless, half assed and suspenseless “time killing”, some typical and far from maximized stalk and slash will unfold.

Arrow: Nothing wrong with that! I dig stalk and slash!

Caller: I know you do you clown, but taking into account all the potentially exciting scenarios the film could've had via what it set up and then talentlessly ignored, it didn't come close to paying off. Oh... it's also less scary than a Goosebumps episode and lasts 10 to 15 minutes...

Arrow: Ouch!

Caller: And just when you’ll think its over, the flick will cap-off in a manner that you saw coming before the opening credits…you understand what I’m telling you Einstein? The last frames are so standard, so predictable, so clichéd, so freaking cheap…that you will know them BEFORE seeing the film. BEFORE! You hear me you f*cking hack! BEFORE!

Arrow: All right, I'm hanging up!


Caller: Wait! Wait! How big is your manhood?

Arrow: What???? Just ask your wife champ, she knows all too well!

Caller: Fair enough, I'll ask her...with that aside…remember this final warning you box of dated Cow-Bran: The only twist that you will witness in When a Stranger Calls, the sole "surprise" that the film has in store for you...was blatantly revealed in the trailer. Take that to the bank and cash it.

Arrow: You’re so full of shit! No movie can be that lousy or see-through! Impossible! Lets give Hollywood “some” credit! I’m done with you dude…f*ck you up later!


So I hung up the phone and ran out to see When a Stranger Calls. The scariest thing was: the prank caller was right… on all counts. What a weak, drawn-out, half baked, insulting to one's intelligence and utterly pointless genre cash-in. Was the directing polished? Yup! Was the vast house set impressive? Damn straight! Was the bleak atmosphere potent? Yes! But slick looking roadkill is still icky, sticky, smelly roadkill to me!

When I got back home, I had to know…who was that stranger that called? I “Star 69ed” the phone and he was revealed… three words: Director Simon West. Need I say more! Hang up in this one's face as if it was an ex-scorned lover busting chops, it isn't worth the time or the energy.

GORE
We get a stabbing in the hand and that was it…snore!
ACTING
You know what? Camilla Belle (Jill) did a decent job from where I was standing. She had a poor script to play with and basically had to carry the whole film by herself. At the end of it all, I liked her. Props girl! Now fire your Agent and get one that will get you GOOD GIGS!
T & A
Only in a sell-out and impotent flick like this would a girl in a thin top fall underwater to then come out with ZERO “nipples through the shirt” action. Did her nipples fall of when she was a child? Was the bra that stuffed with newspapers? What gives? Talk to me…I care!
DIRECTING
All the stylish shots, quick/jerky editing cuts and cheap boo scares (meow) at hand couldn’t disguise that all this flash was to compensate for the film's lack of story. They tried to fool me otherwise with mucho eye/ear candy…they failed. Good try though!
SOUNDTRACK
What do you double-down on when you're film is practically about nada? An overbearing score and some uber loud sound designs of course! The only two things…that kept me awake throughout this dreck!
BOTTOM LINE
When A Stranger Calls took the 20 minute opening and the 10 minute ending of the original and elongated them to a 90 minutes run time by padding the whole with "dead weight", hence posing as a feature film. Although pleasant to the eye and technically competent it was everything a thriller/horror film shouldn’t be: lazy, cowardly and beyond predictable. Furthermore it was un-eventful, flimsy, annoying as hell (I swear if I hear one more phone ring today...), filled with more gaping holes than Paris Hilton and so damn generic that it made TV Movies of the Week starring Mark Harmon seem innovative. Fifteen minutes in, I couldn’t wait for this pathetic crud to end! Take that phone and shove it up your ringer man and GIVE ME MY DAMN MONEY BACK YOU HOLLYWOOD THIEVES! NOW!
BULL'S EYE
Lance Henriksen played the voice of the killer in the film...are times that rough man? You're better than this shite bro!

Was it me of did the killer's sillouhette looks exactly like Robert Patrick in T2 (It was the that ears did it man!)

Simon West also directed the poor: Tomb Raider, The General's Daughter and Con Air. Nice to see he's keeping to his track record.

DON'T VISIT THE WHEN A STRANGER CALLS SITE HERE

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