When a Stranger Calls
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A teenage girl becomes a demented serial killer's prey in this big-budget remake of the 1979 thriller that became a TV late-show favorite. When a Stranger Calls takes its title and basic premise from the original, which -- for its first 15 minutes or so -- featured Carol Kane as a frazzled babysitter plagued by creepy, invasive phone calls. This time around, the doe-eyed Camilla Belle plays Jill Johnson, a high-schooler dealing with the usual set of crises: an unfaithful boyfriend, a bitchy best friend, and an over-the-limit cell phone bill. In order to pay for the latter, her father… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 9%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"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."
‑ Nigel Floyd, Time Out
"A production that never comes close to realizing its potential to tweak the viewer's primal fears."
‑ James Berardinelli, ReelViews
"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."
‑ Cole Smithey, ColeSmithey.com
"You know a horror movie's in trouble when the fake scares outweigh the real ones."
‑ Matthew Leyland, BBC
"Atmospheric but generally disappointing thriller, despite a passably tense climax and an eye-catching performance by newcomer Camilla Belle."
‑ Matthew Turner, ViewLondon
"The film is not quite suspense-free, but almost. When finding a dead body underwater isn't scary, something is very wrong."
‑ Anita Gates, New York Times
"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."
‑ Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star
"No plot, no originality, no stars -- and no reason for you to go and see this crap."
‑ Liz Braun, Jam! Movies
"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."
‑ Robert Hanks, Independent
"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."
‑ Jonathan Kiefer, Sacramento News & Review
"This version is a thin, protracted study in shifting Hollywood strategies."
‑ Matt Singer, Village Voice
"Stranger is one long tease that, instead of building tension around Jill's efforts to outwit her mysterious stalker, has her run around the house, unsuccessfully calling every friend, cop and family member she knows."
‑ Tim Grierson, L.A. Weekly
"...just as needless a remake as one might've expected."
‑ David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews
"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."
‑ Harry Guerin, RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)
"Loud, noisy, flashy but too rarely chilling."
‑ Kim Newman, Empire Magazine
More reviews for When a Stranger Calls on Rotten Tomatoes

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