When a Stranger Calls


When a Stranger Calls

Critics Consensus

When a Stranger Calls ranks among the more misguided remakes in horror history, offering little more than a rote, largely fright-free update to the original.



Total Count: 93


Audience Score

User Ratings: 477,400
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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.


Camilla Belle
as Jill Johnson
Clark Gregg
as Mr. Johnson
Derek de Lint
as Dr. Mandrakis
Kate Jennings Grant
as Mrs. Mandrakis
David Denman
as Officer Burroughs
Arthur Young
as Will Mandrakis
Madeline Carroll
as Allison Mandrakis
Steve Eastin
as Detective Hines
John Bobek
as Officer Lewis
Rosine 'Ace' Hatem
as Rosa Ramirez
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Critic Reviews for When a Stranger Calls

All Critics (93) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (85)

  • 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.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Nigel Floyd

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • You know a horror movie's in trouble when the fake scares outweigh the real ones.

    May 16, 2006 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • The film is not quite suspense-free, but almost. When finding a dead body underwater isn't scary, something is very wrong.

    Feb 18, 2006 | Rating: 1.5/5
  • The original should have been a short film; the new version shouldn't exist at all.

    Feb 16, 2006 | Rating: D

    Scott Tobias

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • This version is a thin, protracted study in shifting Hollywood strategies.

    Feb 13, 2006
  • A production that never comes close to realizing its potential to tweak the viewer's primal fears.

    Feb 11, 2006 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for When a Stranger Calls

  • Aug 02, 2014
    If I discovered anything from "When A Stranger Calls", it is that inside me lives a vast hatred for the sound of a ringing phone. Amidst a chorus of those rings is an attempt at a home invasion thriller that sees a babysitter answering the phone to heavy breathing, casual threats, and fellow classmates playing jokes. Camilla Belle plays the role of innocent babysitter just fine, but remains a blank canvas that is never quite painted in. With poor decision after poor decision, I found myself cheering for Tommy Flanagan to finish her off, or to at least finish me off, so that I would not have to watch any more of this sordid cat and mouse thriller. One thing that never fails to amaze me is how ill-prepared these serial killers are for a female that will fight back, regardless of how small and weak they are.
    Christopher H Super Reviewer
  • Aug 14, 2012
    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.
    Eric S Super Reviewer
  • Nov 23, 2011
    It's predictable and frightless, can't believe I actually spend 5 bucks renting it. And what the hell is with that ending, so cliche.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Sep 19, 2011
    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.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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