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When a Stranger Calls (2006)

tomatometer

9

Average Rating: 3.2/10
Reviews Counted: 91
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 83

What's fitting punishment for running up the phone bill? Why have that person baby sit; that'll teach them. Or better yet, make that person through this poorly acted, fright-free remake of the 1979 movie of the same name. Camilla Belle is a looker, but she got nothing on Carol Kane, the actress who originally played the part, when it comes to range. The final straw is that the payoff isn't worth the tedium that comes before. Just hang up on this one.

6

Average Rating: 2.9/10
Critic Reviews: 17
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 16

What's fitting punishment for running up the phone bill? Why have that person baby sit; that'll teach them. Or better yet, make that person through this poorly acted, fright-free remake of the 1979 movie of the same name. Camilla Belle is a looker, but she got nothing on Carol Kane, the actress who originally played the part, when it comes to range. The final straw is that the payoff isn't worth the tedium that comes before. Just hang up on this one.

audience

44

liked it
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 476,934

My Rating

Movie Info

While babysitting, a high school student is terrorized by a stranger who calls her, asking "have you checked the children lately?" The police eventually notify her, the calls are coming from inside the house.

PG-13,

Mystery & Suspense, Horror

Jake Wade Wall

May 16, 2006

$47.9M

Screen Gems - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (98) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (83) | DVD (15)

If you've seen either Black Christmas or Halloween, there's nothing new here: the hyped-up score keeps telling us we ought to be scared, but the suspense feels mechanical and fake.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film is not quite suspense-free, but almost. When finding a dead body underwater isn't scary, something is very wrong.

February 18, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The original should have been a short film; the new version shouldn't exist at all.

February 16, 2006 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This version is a thin, protracted study in shifting Hollywood strategies.

February 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A production that never comes close to realizing its potential to tweak the viewer's primal fears.

February 11, 2006 Full Review Source: ReelViews
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If there's a single dead-wrong instinct in this movie that isn't pursued with the blind determination of an amorous terrier during high-scent season, darned if I can remember it.

February 11, 2006 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a safe dumb film for safe dumb audiences.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Amateurish direction by Simon West ("Laura Croft: Tomb Raider") contributes to the utter failure of this pathetic update of the original film of the same title.

April 20, 2009 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

...just as needless a remake as one might've expected.

May 27, 2006 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

No plot, no originality, no stars -- and no reason for you to go and see this crap.

May 27, 2006 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

You know a horror movie's in trouble when the fake scares outweigh the real ones.

May 16, 2006 Full Review Source: BBC.com
BBC.com

I can't help feeling that this updating could have been a little more imaginative -- the only wrinkle on the basic plot is that it uses mobile phones.

May 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Independent | Comment (1)
Independent

While teen chillers tend to be exercises in extreme dullness, at least director Simon West tries to wring some suspense out of the scenes here.

May 12, 2006 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)

Atmospheric but generally disappointing thriller, despite a passably tense climax and an eye-catching performance by newcomer Camilla Belle.

May 12, 2006 Full Review Source: ViewLondon
ViewLondon

Loud, noisy, flashy but too rarely chilling.

May 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Having abstained from character development and stalling for something to do between calls, the movie dwells in the house's dark corners, plugging plot holes with overzealous sound design.

May 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

This year's "I Know What You Did Last Summer"...You'll be totally immersed and near on the verge of drawing sweat

April 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Brag Magazine | Comments (2)
Brag Magazine

god damn why in the world would they only remake the first 20 minutes?

April 11, 2006 Full Review Source: sbs.is

Não percebe que a premissa é insuficiente para sustentar 90 minutos de duração e, conseqüentemente, o resultado deixa muito a desejar com relação ao original.

April 2, 2006
Cinema em Cena

...it did half the trick for me and for that...it receives half the marks.

March 24, 2006 Full Review Source: JoBlo's Movie Emporium
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

I'll be damned if I can find anything to like

March 16, 2006 Full Review Source: New Times
New Times

This remake of a 1979 thriller starring Carol Kane isn't particularly mysterious ... Unexpectedly, given his background in exploitation dramas, director Simon West doesn't push the horror to the max.

March 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Long distance information? Get me Hollywood, USA: I've got a rusty ice pick to bury in the gullet of whoever greenlighted this pointless exercise.

March 4, 2006 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

When a Stranger Calls understands that when alone and isolated in an unfamiliar place, an overactive imagination can be as frightening as any real threats.

February 22, 2006 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

The only reason to watch this punishingly dull remake is to ogle raven-haired beauty Camilla Belle.

February 18, 2006 Full Review Source: Georgia Straight

Audience Reviews for When a Stranger Calls

No plot, no scares. You might as well just fast-forward to the last ten minutes; everything before is utterly pointless. Not saying that the ending is anything special. None of the tension in this film is real. It's just fake scare after fake scare, and it gets old real fast.
August 15, 2012
Market Man
Eric Shankle

Super Reviewer

When a Stranger Calls is one of the worst remakes that I have seen. The film has some very bad acting, a bad story and bad directing. As a horror film, When a Stranger Calls fails to deliver effective jolts. The scares are cheap and expected. I thought that this film was awful and I felt like it was a waste of time. This film is pure crap, and as far as remakes are concerned, them being dull and inspired compared to the first, well this one fits the description perfectly. I love horror films, horror films are my passion, my addiction and I was very disappointed in this film. I thought it was purely a waste of time, and celluloid. Remakes are much hit and miss, and this remake misses the mark entirely. The cast and story awful, and you just know how this film will end. The element of surprise, which makes horror films worth seeing, is absent, and thus, this film is very predictable and awful. This film scraps the bottom of the barrel and it's not fun, scary or entertaining. This is yet another unfortunate remake of a classic film that never should have been made in the first place. Hollywood is running out of ideas, and trash like this shows that they're willing to green light anything to make a quick buck. Some remakes are good, effective at delivering scares. However this one fails to deliver, and belongs along with the rest of the horrible sequels in the dollar bin at Wal-Mart. A terrible film, which you're not missing out on. Avoid.
September 20, 2011
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Creepy! Had me on the edge of my seat and I was genuinely frightened.
June 23, 2011
murphmann93
Bethany Murphy

Super Reviewer

    1. Jill Johnson: What do you want me for? Why are you doing this?
    2. Voice of the Stranger: I want your blood all over me.
    – Submitted by Adam P (13 months ago)
    1. Jill Johnson: Stop calling me you sick...
    2. Officer Burroughs: Jill, we've traced the call it's coming from inside the house! Get out of the house, get out of the house!
    – Submitted by Adam P (13 months ago)
    1. Detective Hines: Keep him on the phone for at least 60 seconds and we'll be able to trace where he is. And when we do it'll take us 20 minutes to get down there. You think you can manage?
    2. Jill Johnson: Yeah. I guess.... But he never stays on the phone longer than a few seconds.
    3. Detective Hines: You have to try.
    – Submitted by Adam P (13 months ago)
    1. Voice of the Stranger: How are the children?
    – Submitted by Adam P (13 months ago)
    1. Jill Johnson: I know it's you tiffany, I can see the name address.
    2. Voice of the Stranger: I'm not Tiffany.
    – Submitted by Adam P (13 months ago)
    1. Jill Johnson: Stop calling me you sick...
    2. Officer Burroughs: Jill, we've traced the call it's coming from inside the house!
    – Submitted by Rawballs B (2 years ago)
View all quotes (6)

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