Yes, I admit I had fun watching this, and I don't care how big of a minority that puts me in. ;)
When a Stranger Calls (2006)
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Yes, I admit I had fun watching this, and I don't care how big of a minority that puts me in. ;)
The story is unbelievably simplistic. The slim 87 minute running time is heavily padded with inconsequential friends and a pointless cheating boyfriend. The killer is devoid of even the token motivation of Jason or Michael or even the original movie's killer, and as a result is never particularly frightening. The police behave in such an unbelievably ineffectual and lazy manner as to verge on professional misconduct. Simon West brings the same attractive banality to proceedings that he managed with Lara Croft, but his style of directing is decidedly generic, possessing no indicators of real talent or vision. The performances are routine, dark hallways replace genuine horror, and the scares are of the tired cat-in-the-closet variety.
The cinematography and production design, however, are above average for this kind of film. The house is beautifully designed, all dark wood and glassy reflections, and there are a few moments that are of visual interest.
Though lacking an ounce of dramatic originality, it acts as a reasonably satisfying 'dark house' thriller, and maintains interest longer than most of its ilk.
Overall i'm a little surprised at the low rating this movie has gotten. I watch a lot of movies (working in a video store tends to help) and this really isn't as bad as people seem to think. I do have some criticism though. The final call from the cop was terrible, almost overacted, the dead girl in the bathroom looked liked she was having a little sleep (probably from the amount of tequila she mentioned she drank) and the children's reaction to what was happening instilled in me the hope that they were ultimately killed
hope this helps some people
Camilla Bell did a great job as Jill Johnson. And the fact that a teen horror flick could be made in the year 2006 without tremendous vulgarity and gore, made it even that much stronger of a film. I had a great time trying not to chew my fingernails off!
This film won't win anyone an Oscar, but it is entertaining and worth the matinée price ticket I bought to see it. I think girls around the world should watch the original and the remake...and then determine to never babysit again.
All I can say is, I'm glad I'm too old to babysit! There's just something about being in a dark creepy house with sleeping kids that makes this movie classic. No blood, no gore...just good psychological fun! WINNER!
I watched it with my two little sisters and I think it made it even better as they were quite scared. Also with the shouting at the screen "Dont do that!", "Not that way!", etc. I thought there were some good little jumpy moments and it built the tension well.
Camilla Belle is absolutely stunning in the lead role and a very good actress - So she holds your attention well.
Overall a decent film.
Remake of the 1979 semi-classic horror film basically takes the opening 20 minutes of the original film and stretches it out to fit an 87 minute time span! So it's pretty needless to say that the plot of this remake is pretty thin. There's little in the way of originality or interest in this movie. There's a lot of Camilla Belle wondering around a dark house wondering who's calling her and encountering all kinds of false scares. It all gets repetitious and routine after the first 30 minutes and never manages to muster up much in the way of suspense or chills. It certainly never reaches the intensity of the original film, especially since it wimps-out and changes one important plot point from the original. I guess we have the PG-13 rating to thank for that.
On the plus side there's an impressive set design and some dark atmosphere, unfortunately there's not much going on around it to save this remake from being sub-par. Belle's performance is pretty mediocre too.
It's just another unimpressive remake.
* 1/2 out of ****
The first 20 minutes of the original film were pretty good but it was all downhill from there. The remake takes those first 20 minutes and stretches them into an 80 minute feature film. That's a good idea because its eliminating everything that made the original bad. However, if they wanted this film to work more effectively then they should have hired a better lead actress, better director, writer etc. There's no suspense, everything can be figured out long before it happens and it's a very dull film since not much happens. At least there isn't much to sit through since its less than 90 minutes.
If this premise were to work, then the lead actress has to give a realistic performance. Camilla Belle gives one of the worst performances I have ever seen and throughout the whole movie, she seemed to be reading her lines. You get a lead role in a Hollywood film that will be viewed by millions of people and you give no effort at all! Why did they hire this girl? Sure, she's pretty but she can't act at all yet I suppose this won't matter to the target audience who will most likely eat this film up. The rest of the cast is bland and forgettable especially the woman who plays the maid, Rosa. Even the stranger was lame and his lines on the phone were not effective at all.
This movie reminds me of last years disappointing horror film Boogeyman. That movie was a bunch of cheap scares and false alarms and When a Stranger Calls is pretty much the same. Jill enters a room because she hears a noise but its just a false alarm like a cat or the maid. This type of scene happens over and over again until finally after about 50 minutes, the stranger appears. He has to be one of the lamest killers ever. He carried no weapons and didn't seem to pose much of a threat. The ending is bad but it matches the rest of the film so it doesn't really matter. The film is directed by Simon West and he is really bad at building up suspense. He was using every cliché he could think of and the results weren't very good. The house was amazing and I'll give the film credit for that. It was an isolated house so it was pretty creepy but that's about the only good thing this film has to offer. In the end, if you're not a teenage girl then you should skip the movie. Rating 2/10
By the way, This is my first review, so I don't know if any of those things were spoilers.. But just to be safe...
The use of this amazing house, waste of time. It was a distraction by the director to give you something interesting or pretty to look at.
Camilla Belle has about as much charisma and screen presence as my last yeast infection.
Simon West's DGA card needs to be confiscated.
I hate whoever greenlit this.
I did not pay to see it. I snuck in.
Hollywood please stop.
Seriously, no more garbage.
it is a cool movie and quite scary. check it out, you will be happy with this masterpiece. don't listen to the other people on the site. its very good. trust me, i am good at reviewing movies. I'm a future movie critic. i totally want to buy this movie. and you will too when you see it. it is amazingly awesome.
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.
Speaking of Jill, i thought her part was acted pretty well, at first it wasn't as believable, but after a few phone calls it was fine. In fact the scenes where she is frightened are acted perfectly. And, finally, someone got the fire poker right. I can't tell you how many times when i hear a noise at my house i grab the fire poker, and it was a nice touch for her to do the same, even though she idiotically forgets it when she needs it most.
In regards to the plot holes, the movie is not perfect but almost every hole can be explained, and part of the mystery is how he got in..exactly, how long was he watching her? how did he get out to kill her friend? and when exactly did the gardener die? overall, i enjoyed it and i was surprised how quickly it went. It kept my attention, and i wanted to see how it ended, although the ending was very brief and left a bad taste in my mouth. My only complaint, other than the ending, was the lack of character development. They could have added ten minutes with her and her friends or something to make us feel bad for her situation more, to give us a taste of her personality and to give us foreshadowing to how she will handle the situation(for example, the scene where she debates whether to go back for the kids, it looks like some scene is missing at the beginning that talked about her only caring about herself or something).
First of all, there was no twist ending. The stranger just ended up being some random serial killer, stalking and murdering young babysitters. The killer and the girl were such idiots. A pointless waste of time.
Second, this movie had plot holes the size of Texas. For example, when the police trace Jill's call and find out they are coming from inside the house, why did they not catch on and tell her that there is a serial killer? How did the blonde friend know where the house was? The blonde friend was killed outside, how did her body get in the bathroom of the house?
Camilla Belle is one of the worst actresses to ever grace the screen. She was just so bad it was unbelievable. Line after line was delivered without emotion and she had this dumb blank stare constantly on her face.
She's pretty though, and her all wet in the pool kept me from falling asleep.
Jill Johnson (Camilla Belle) is a high school girl who is on the track team and one of her best friend has kissed her boyfriend. So, she breaks up with him and refuses to talk to her friend. She has also talked too much on the phone, like 800 extra minutes, and her dad makes her to babysit to earn her money so she can pay off her own bills. She has to babysit Dr and Mrs. Mandrakis's (Derek de Lint and Kate Jennings Grant) kids and they live in a huge lakeside house. Things start to get a bit creepy when a stranger (Tommy Flanagan) keeps on calling Jill and seems to be spying on her. She can't find the house maid and the police don't give much thought to her predicament.
Though there are many films of this kind out there, the studios just keep on churning them out every year. Do you know why? It is because every year new kids step into their teens and they would not see old movies of this kind. So, this will be new for them and a babysitter who is stalked by a psycho killer is pretty horrifying if you have ever babysat in a house which makes some creepy noises. Almost every kid will connect with that. Camilla was good in her role, though many have complained that she didn't portray her fear very well. Well, what do I know; maybe some girls don't like to show they are afraid of the killer (ring a bell?) I am a guy, so don't think only girls or young boys will be afraid of this film. The first time I saw the film, I was horrified and wanted Jill to get out of the house, away from the killer. Now, its more like a pleasure to see her and the beautiful mansion once again. That house is huge with all the modern securities and gadgets within it.
The opening scene is very chilling and the director tries very hard to give us false jump scares which were quite annoying with repeated viewings actually. The decor of the house was magnificent, with the bird sanctuary or something within the house and a beautiful lake outside. The atmosphere is very eerie because of the magnitude of this house. I have to say, Jill is a very lax babysitter. She doesn't even check on the kids until the prank caller asks her about them. The adults in the film are not given much scope for acting. Even the stranger, Tommy Flanagan is just a caricature. They could have at least given him some kind of weapon to show us how he killed his victims. That's the only slight flaw I found in my first few viewings. Jill's friends are dumb and boring, at best. I wanted them to finish their scenes more quickly so that Jill had more screen time, without their distractions. The kids were not used properly in the film, though. This film doesn't have an ounce of sexual tension, which was quite surprising and I was happy with that (Many pg-13 movies make the actresses run around in their underwear). Don't let the rating on IMDb fool you. This is quite a good suspense thriller for us youngsters.
After weeks of watching many movies in year 2006 - without doubt, this movie is one of the worst and is an utter disgrace to Hollywood. The movie has failed in all aspects but most profoundly in its lacking of the real story line. The story line is somehow a replica to very common horror movie (you got bad man out there and start running around with not clear idea: WHY? WHY? WHY?).
There are a lot of questions that the director should answer in this movie, or at least in the end of the movie - but in fact, nothing is answered. The whole content of the focus is simply running around like crazy while there is really no twist (utter boring).
just don't watch!