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When a Stranger Calls (2006)

TOMATOMETER

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

Critics Consensus: 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

Critics Consensus: 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 SCORE

Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 476,967

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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.

Rating:
PG-13 (for intense terror, violence and some language.)
Genre:
Mystery & Suspense , Horror
Directed By:
Written By:
Jake Wade Wall
In Theaters:
On DVD:
May 16, 2006
Box Office:
$47.9M
Runtime:
Screen Gems - Official Site

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Critic Reviews for When a Stranger Calls

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.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top 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

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

Full Review… | February 16, 2006
AV Club
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | February 13, 2006
Village Voice
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | February 11, 2006
ReelViews
Top 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.

Full Review… | February 11, 2006
Toronto Star
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | April 29, 2009
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.

Full Review… | April 20, 2009
ColeSmithey.com

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

Full Review… | May 27, 2006
Reel Film Reviews

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

Full Review… | May 27, 2006
Jam! Movies

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

Full Review… | May 16, 2006
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.

Full Review… | May 13, 2006
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.

Full Review… | May 12, 2006

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

Full Review… | May 12, 2006
ViewLondon

Loud, noisy, flashy but too rarely chilling.

Full Review… | May 12, 2006
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.

Full Review… | May 12, 2006
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

Full Review… | April 12, 2006
Brag Magazine

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

Full Review… | April 11, 2006

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.

Full Review… | March 24, 2006
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

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

Full Review… | March 16, 2006
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.

Full Review… | March 13, 2006
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.

Full Review… | March 4, 2006
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.

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

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

Full Review… | February 18, 2006

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.

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.

TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Great horror flick that makes you scared to ever answer a phone ever again. I was terrified after the movie when my dad called the house to scare us. If you want to be completely freaked out then watch this movie.

movieguru12
Cassie Hill

Super Reviewer

Creepy! Had me on the edge of my seat and I was genuinely frightened.

murphmann93
Bethany Murphy

Super Reviewer

When a Stranger Calls Quotes


Jill Johnson: What do you want me for? Why are you doing this? Voice of the Stranger: I want your blood all over me.
– Submitted by Adam P (14 months ago)
Jill Johnson: Stop calling me you sick... 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 (14 months ago)
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? Jill Johnson: Yeah. I guess.... But he never stays on the phone longer than a few seconds. Detective Hines: You have to try.
– Submitted by Adam P (14 months ago)
Voice of the Stranger: How are the children?
– Submitted by Adam P (14 months ago)
Jill Johnson: I know it's you tiffany, I can see the name address. Voice of the Stranger: I'm not Tiffany.
– Submitted by Adam P (14 months ago)
Jill Johnson: Stop calling me you sick... Officer Burroughs: Jill, we've traced the call it's coming from inside the house!
– Submitted by Rawballs B (2 years ago)

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