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When a Stranger Calls (1979)


No Reviews Yet...

Release Date: Sep 28, 1979 Wide



liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 32,009

My Rating

Movie Info

In this thriller, a baby-sitter is terrorized by an anonymous telephone caller who turns out to be a particularly persistent serial killer. When a stranger calls to ask, "Have you checked the children lately?" teenaged sitter Jill Johnson (Carol Kane) is understandably spooked. After a series of increasingly creepy calls culminates in a request for "your blood...all over me," Jill learns from the police operator that the man is calling from inside the house. One narrow escape and two dead


Mystery & Suspense, Horror

Oct 9, 2001

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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All Critics (13) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (4) | Rotten (6) | DVD (11)

Grim psychothriller with a few teen urban legends.

December 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Seus vinte minutos iniciais e finais (ou seja: as seqüências envolvendo Carol Kane) são suficientemente tensos, mas o longo segundo ato que traz a investigação feita pelo personagem de Durning jamais empolga.

April 1, 2006
Cinema em Cena

The ultimately slow-moving film is book-ended by some truly classic horror movie moments.

January 30, 2006 Full Review Source:

Aggravatingly devoid of suspense.

January 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

I dare you to try sitting through the middle 70 minutes.

January 5, 2006 Full Review Source:

Glorified slasher flick never advances beyond a great first act.

April 17, 2005

Effective suburban legend suspenser that becomes unintentionally funny by the end

October 2, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for When a Stranger Calls

When a Stranger Calls is a pulse pounding horror film. This is one of those films that use suspense to build effective horror to create the tension on-screen. Director Fred Walton crafts a tension filled horror film that combines suspense, terror with a few slasher film elements and crime film rolled into one film. The thing that impressed me about When a Stranger Calls is the fact that director Fred Walton keeps the gore on a down low, unlike so many other horror films in the slasher genre of the 1980's, this one relies more on the suspense factor to build up the terror and tone of the entire film. Like with every viewer, I have to say that the first twenty minutes of this film are the most terrifying and intense; ion other words, it starts the film off with a bang. I enjoyed this film and I think it's a very good concept for a horror flick. I think the fact that the film limits its gore factor much like Halloween did, adds a lot more credibility to the film. The acting is good here, and the actors deliver memorable performances. When a Stranger Calls is different, and it's a film that blend psychological horror with a few slasher elements, but isn't a straight forward bloodbath. When a Stranger Calls is a terrific horror flick that uses traditional horror elements to create the horror that we see on-screen. The result is a terrifying and memorable film
January 4, 2012
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

After being locked up for seven years in an insanse asylum for murdering two children, a psychotic Englishman escapes his confines and is loose on the streets of New York. The opening 15 minutes are a real nail-biter and the film ends in a similar fashion too with a couple of genuinely frightening moments. The suspense lets off during the middle parts and things move along at a slower pace, but the menace and threat is always there with the chilling performance by Tony Beckley, which would be his last film after passing away due to cancer just after completing the film. A real good thriller for those that don't mind low body counts and zero gore.
April 25, 2011
Lee ?

Super Reviewer

A terrifyingly realistic slasher movie, starring Carol Kane, who gives a fantastic performance. This is a great horror movie, and I recommend seeing it.
January 7, 2011

Super Reviewer

Like two movies strangely fused together. The first is the better one, although Carol Kane has a strange accent and seems kind of distant for a teenager. It would be a great short film on its own (and the camerawork of the remake is much dumber).

The second part of the composite movie is more of a 70s thriller-drama, which humanizes the unseen killer from the first part and asks whether being treated like a monster will make him kill again or is it just inevitable. The actor Tony Beckley makes this an interesting question. The director does a 180 degree on his horror movie and sees things from the monster's POV as he tries NOT to kill. Has this been done before?

Beckley gives a great performance; still, it's hard to believe that he is the same bogeyman-like creature from the opening segment. Along the way, the movie forgets some things, like plot logistics, but remembers what's scary about nightmares intruding on real life.
December 14, 2009

Super Reviewer

    1. John Clifford: [to Tracy, about Curt's murders] After the coroner's investigation the bodies were taken to the mortuary where the undertaker took one look at them and said their bodies couldn't be reconstructed for the burial without six days of steady work. Then he asked what had been the murder weapon, because looking at the mess in front of him he couldn't imagine what had been used. The coroner told him there had been no murder weapon. The killer had used only his hands.
    – Submitted by Bria M (22 months ago)
    1. Curt Duncan: Have you checked the children lately?
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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Latest News on When a Stranger Calls

February 6, 2006:
Weekend Box Office Numbers Keep Getting "Stranger"
That it would debut in the #1 spot was a foregone conclusion, but Sony/Screen Gems' "When a...
January 19, 2006:
Trailer Bulletin: When a Stranger Calls
Click right here to check out the trailer for "When a Stranger Calls," which (get this!)...
December 23, 2005:
Trailer Bulletin: The Hills Have Eyes & When a Stranger Calls
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