Movie Review: When a Stranger Calls (2006)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2006 thriller starring Camilla Belle and Brian Geraghty.

Synopsis: A teenager is forced into a babysitting job by her parents after going over her allotted cell phone minutes. Fortunately for her, the job is relatively easy and she is given full access to a beautiful, albeit remote, mansion. However, things quickly take a turn for the worst when she begins to receive strange phone calls and realizes someone is watching her.


I have seen the 1979 version of this movie on a couple different occasions but, up until last night, had not taken the time to watch the remake. My wife and I did just that before bed and, admittedly, I was very impressed with the film.

One of my biggest concerns with a modernized version of this movie is the fact it takes place after the invention devices like caller ID and, because of that, I was afraid the movie wouldn't manage to be as intense. This, however, proved not to be the case because the filmmakers were smart about it and made sure the number was either blocked or came from a cell phone the babysitter, Jill (Belle), recognized.

I think one thing that really helped this movie was the scenery. When we were first introduced to the mansion, I thought it was fantastic and even wished I lived there. However, the house also proved to be the ideal location for a horror movie/thriller because the building was actually kind of creepy when it was quiet,simply because there were a lot of dark hallways and rooms for someone to hide in. And, whenever the automatic lights came on in a remote corner, it was hard to tell if it was just the cat or if someone was walking around.

The fact the building was in a remote location also helped matters because it made escaping difficult and made it difficult for the police to get there in a reasonable amount of time.

One thing I also found I loved about this movie was the fact we never really learn much about the stalker/murderer. While this does leave a long list of unanswered questions, both about his identity and how he chose his victims, the anonymity does give him an extra level of creepiness simply because, without having that background information, it's impossible to predict what will happen next. And, that extra uncertainty did keep me on the edge of my seat until the final credits.

When a Stranger Calls

To Jill Johnson (Camilla Belle, The Ballad of Jack and Rose), it was the perfect babysitting job. The parents were away. The fridge was stocked. The children were tucked into be...

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Final Opinion

I, admittedly, had some doubts about a modernized version of this film. However, overall, I thought this was an entertaining movie that was well worth our time last night. It's a great re-telling of a classic thriller and one I would recommend taking the time to watch.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 07/12/2015, StevenHelmer
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