When a Stranger Calls Back (1993)




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Movie Info

In this made-for-cable TV thriller, a crazed killer threatens the life of the baby-sitter (Carol Kane) he previously terrorized.

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Critic Reviews for When a Stranger Calls Back

All Critics (3) | Top Critics (1)

The telefilm is a good rattler, despite some logic dropouts.

Feb 12, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

It's a decent nail-biter that plays on the tension it builds up, despite its gaps in logic.

Sep 23, 2015 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

As ineffective as its erratic predecessor...

May 13, 2015 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for When a Stranger Calls Back


I saw this on YouTube after I read that somehow the director built an opening sequence that lived up to the original's. And it's true. The first 15 minutes or so are expertly crafted -- and the victim is as smart as possible in conversation with an unseen Big Bad Wolf. For the rest of the movie, the director keeps up his method of using longer takes with silence and darkly lit, deep compositions to increase tension. Our eyes go searching for spaces and moments where the generic scare might leap out at us. For the most part, he keeps us tense and guessing in the shadows. It's a unique gift he deserves credit for. The plot investigates the events of the opening sequences, and perhaps spoils it a bit with strained rationalizations. Kane and Durning are great, and great together, but parts of the script just don't make it. Nothing in the movie compares well next to the dread of the beginning, except maybe two weird scenes. In one, the killer starts rapping the tummy of someone who doesn't want to play anymore and in the other, he does an uncomfortable stage act and then camouflages himself in an alley.

Adam Mahler
Adam Mahler

Super Reviewer

Campolongo more or less says it all. Tension is kept tight throughout, Walton really knows how to squeeze every once of suspense out of these kind of films. There's a few great twists (one of the main characters is knocked out of the action half way through). Nice to see the original stars once again especially Carol Kane who gives it her best & wont take any of this "Shes just a mixed up kid" crap from the cops. Wipes the floor with the first one which people really only remember when you quote the line "The calls are coming from inside the house!"

Cassandra Maples
Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

A great made-for-TV movie which doesn't suck! Perhaps better than the original film, because this has horror and stalking scenes throughout. The opening scene is chilling and superbly written. It begins with a young babysitter alone in a big house, and some guy banging on the front door, saying his car had problems and he needs to come in and use the phone, but then freaky things start to happen from there. The killer torments the girl throughout the course of the movie. Offering assistance are the experienced cop (Charles Durning) and the post-trauma babysitter (Carole Kane), both from the first "When A Stranger Calls" film. They investigate the alleged stalkings, and help track down the spooky dude, who has some crafty voice-throwing and concealment skills, making him harder to catch. I liked the weird scene in the bar with the ventriloquist act. The end battle is unbelievable in what the killer does. The first film will always be considered a classic, but had a flawed middle act. This one is more consistently scary throughout, though largely overlooked.

Lafe Fredbjornson
Lafe Fredbjornson

Super Reviewer

This was kind of a disappointment because it started off so well. The opening is more tense than the original, using yet another urban legend to set it up, but goes quickly downhill soon thereafter, ironically when Jill and Clifford return from the original. There's no character development here, and little to no reference to the events of the first film - where are Jill's husband and kids, for starters? It should have been so much better.

Steve B.
Steve B.

Super Reviewer

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