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When a Stranger Calls (2006)
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Review Date: March 23, 2006
Director: Simon West
Writer: Jake Wade Wall
Producers: John Davis, Wyck Godfrey, Ken Lemberger
Actors:
Camilla Belle as Jill
Clark Gregg as Mr. Johnson
Katie Cassidy as Tiffany
Plot:
A hot girl is forced to babysit a mansion in the middle of nowhere as punishment for going over her cellular phone minutes limit. Once alone in the house, she receives anonymous calls from a heavy breather along with everyone else in the free world (the phone does not stop ringing, folks). Ultimately, she calls the cops who attempt to identify the weirdo caller. Is it her boyfriend playing tricks, the elder son of the household, the cat, some stranger with too much time on his hands? Find out within…if you give a shit, of course.
Critique:
I’m not a fan of cell phones. To this day, some people are still quite amazed that I don’t own a mobile phone, but to make a long personal story really short: I believe they’re a great part of the de-humanization of our society…but hey, maybe that’s just me!! That said, I have to admit that about halfway through this 85-minute number, I was really starting to get innerved with the amount of phone calls that were taking place in the movie…I mean, there wasn’t really much of a plot at some point, it was basically just a girl in a house…answering the phone over and over and over and over again. Sometimes it was her friends calling, other times not (kinda like my life, but without the “friends” part). Sure, the creaking of the house, the walking down the dark hallways and the “heavy breathing” phone calls all helped develop a certain atmosphere required for films of this sort, but after a while, you really need to inject some actual thrills into the proceedings, and other than the film’s final 15 minutes or so, all we really get here is a whole lot of set-up (like over an hour’s worth), topped with some testosterone during its final moments. That said, I wasn’t all that bored through the film’s first two-thirds if only because I watched the movie in the middle of the night, all by my lonesome and in the dark (story of my life, incidentally), which I’m sure helped intensify its creepy mood.

It’s the kind of movie that will likely go down much better on a Saturday night at home with your loved one wrapped around one arm and a box of Kleenex in the other (think about that one). Nobody’s going to bestow the honor of “most original film in the history of suspense flicks” to this motion picture (check off all the clichés as a drinking game if you like: girl drops keys while running from bad guy, car doesn’t start up suddenly, cat jumps out to scare girl while she searches for killer, cell batteries die at most inopportune moment, etc….), but if you’re looking for a half-decent suspense film starring a hot girl wearing a tight shirt (and yes, it eventually gets wet…thank you very much) and a quick turnaround time, this movie might do it for you. I’m not exactly sure what the deal was with the stalker once all was said and done though (gimme an explanation, at least!), I can’t say that the film’s epilogue brought anything to the proceedings and this girl’s dad might just be one of the worst fathers of all-time (he drops his daughter off at a stranger’s house in the middle of bumfuck nowhere and never even checks up on her), but for what I was looking for on this dark and lonely evening…it did half the trick for me and for that…it receives half the marks.
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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2:17PM on 03/23/2006

wait for Video

I'm getting pretty sick of remakes down to the point when there are just no good ones. After the recent suckfest THE FOG (4/10) the movie studios found it necessary to remake yet another horror movie. The original movie (I heard it wasn't that great) only had the killer in the house thing at the very first 20 minutes or so from what I've heard. But the movie studios thought "Hey let's make that part into a whole 90 minute movie!" Seems like a good idea but it really wasn't. This movie is full
I'm getting pretty sick of remakes down to the point when there are just no good ones. After the recent suckfest THE FOG (4/10) the movie studios found it necessary to remake yet another horror movie. The original movie (I heard it wasn't that great) only had the killer in the house thing at the very first 20 minutes or so from what I've heard. But the movie studios thought "Hey let's make that part into a whole 90 minute movie!" Seems like a good idea but it really wasn't. This movie is full of every horror cliche in the book. Try to run up the stairs from the killer? Check. Open door when someone knocks? Check. Boo scares? Check. Good movie? Not check. Also for a horror film there is no blood to be seen. I know it's PG-13 but even CRY_WOLF (7/10) had some blood in it! Not one freaking drop! Satisfy us horror fans please! The acting is not very good. Camilla Belle (Jill) was pretty good and pretty hot but in some scenes she just was not good. Tommy Flannagan (The Stranger) played a guy with no dialog so I can't really say. The rest of the cast was ok at best. Probably the best part of this movie is the last 10 minutes which is full of suspense. Not a very good movie at all. Catch it on video.
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