Michael Harding (Penn Badgely) returns home from military school to find his mother Susan (Sela Ward) happily in love and living with her new boyfriend David (Dylan Walsh). As the two men get to know each other, he becomes more and more suspicious of the man who is always there with a helpful hand.
Tom returns to his hometown on the tenth anniversary of the Valentine's night massacre that claimed the lives of 22 people. Instead of a homecoming, Tom finds himself suspected of committing the murders, and it seems like his old flame is the only one that believes he's innocent.
Jill Johnson is being forced to babysit at a BIG house all by herself for exceeding her telephone minutes. Then all of a sudden a stranger calls making these weird remarks. Jill decides to call the police to trace the call. Jill is freaked out when she finds out that the call is coming from inside the house! Jill runs in a hurry trying to get the children and leave. Will Jill make it out of the house in time? Will she live? Well you just have to watch the movie to find out!Written by
Camilla Belle almost turned down the role of Jill due to her personal dislike for horror films. Simon West convinced her that he was going for a more psychological thriller, so she agreed to do the movie. She had to turn down a role in another horror remake Black Christmas (2006) due to commitments to this film. See more »
When Jill is trying on Mrs Mandrakis' jewelry she puts on a gold necklace. When she goes to the closet the necklace disappears and reappears when she leaves. See more »
The original When A Stranger Calls became known as one of the scariest movies of all time simply for it's brilliant opening 20 minutes. People forget that the rest of the film (besides an almost equally effective closing 20 minutes) is sort of a drag. A remake wasn't the worst idea in the world, especially since the original film's sequel, When A Stranger Calls Back, already improved upon the original.
This remake gets a lot of things right. The location/set is stunning and not a bad place to be trapped for 90 minutes. There are all sorts of interesting hallways and staircases to get one's imagination going. The music is appropriately eerie and the sound mix does a great job of adding tension. The titular stranger is kept in the shadows for most of the film and we have no idea who he is or what his motivations are.
Where the film fails is the casting of its lead. Camilla Belle is a beautiful girl, but she's dramatically limited and not terribly charming. She's certainly not interesting enough to watch by herself for 90 minutes. When the set is more interesting than your leading lady, you know you have issues. This is a shame, too, because the screenplay itself isn't terrible. It extends the original's opening sequence to the breaking point at times and has to keep everything a little bit too safe so that it can keep its PG-13 rating (for example, the children Jill is watching are never in any real jeopardy, which is kind of a downer since the urban legend it's based off of always has them falling victim to the killer), but it's a surprisingly effective little chiller.
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