When A Stranger Calls
Last Night's 9:30 press screening of the latest horror/ suspense WHEN A STRANGER CALLS had numerous people walking out of the theatre. I was far too sedated and tired to move from my cushy chair, so I stayed.
Jill Johnson (Camilla Belle) gets grounded for going over her cellphone minutes and as punishment she's made to babysit to pay her parents back for the bill. The house is so far removed from civilization (of course) that her only form of entertainment is exploring the empty mansion a la Michelle Pfeiffer in a much better movie called 'What Lies Beneath'. She starts getting those heavy breathing phone calls from a stranger in where after getting really scared, she finds out that the calls are coming from - INSIDE THE HOUSE.
*cue music* - Dun Dun DUUUUuuuuuhhhhhhh ...
Now I never watched the original 70s version, but I'm sure it would've been a much better executed film than this clumsy attempt at suspense. The ringing phone gimmick gets tired after the 5th call and you wonder why she doesn't just let it go to voicemail. Much of it is fairly unrelatable and forced at best. Camilla Belle, who was far better in The Quiet, had her acting chops go to waste here. Unlike thrilling master Wes Craven, director Simon West couldn't come up with anything new and opted to recycle horror cliches resulting in a watered down, almost laughable execution of the genre.
The only thing the film got me doing was to think about those pesky phone calls I get at home where no one seems to be on the other line. Both my mother and I answer a quick, "Hello? ... hello? ... hello?" before hanging up. But I know it's not a stalker, it's just a faulty phoneline.
Sigh - and the trailer looked so promising.
In any case, WHEN A STRANGER CALLS ... let it go to voicemail.
Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures
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