When a Stranger Calls


Action / Crime / Drama / Horror / Mystery / Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 40%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 49%
IMDb Rating 6.6 10 7589


Uploaded By: OTTO
Downloaded 23,035 times
December 19, 2014 at 10:20 AM



Carol Kane as Jill Johnson
Charles Durning as John Clifford
Rutanya Alda as Mrs. Mandrakis
1.44 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 37 min
P/S 4 / 8

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by jhaggardjr 7 / 10

Have you checked the children?

"When a Stranger Calls" is a somewhat entertaining horror-suspense-thriller that starts off great, loses steam in the middle, then comes back for a good finish. The beginning of this movie is outstanding, with babysitter Carol Kane receiving obscene phone calls from an unknown maniac. This is far and away the best part of the film. It's scary, creepy, and downright eerie. But it doesn't sustain that level through the entire film. The mid-portion of the movie is rather dull, featuring a few lazy supporting performances. But "When a Stranger Calls" redeems itself with a nail-biting climax, even though the conclusion doesn't top the film's opening in terms of scariness. Carol Kane and Charles Durning are good in the roles of the terrified babysitter and the private detective searching for the killer when he's on the loose. "When a Stranger Calls" is not a great horror movie but a good one. And its better than the cable-made sequel that came out fourteen years later, "When a Stranger Calls Back".

*** (out of four)

Reviewed by fertilecelluloid 6 / 10

Pristine premise stretched until flabby

Problematic suspense thriller. The short film this is based on, which milked a pristine premise for maximum tension, worked. As a short. This film, directed by the same director as the short, used the short film's premise as its first act. Beyond that, it stops working.

A babysitter receives a series of harassing phone calls -- "Have you checked the children?" -- that she learns are coming from INSIDE the house. THAT is the film's big surprise, and it comes at the twenty-one minute point. The film's second act involves the search for the phone caller who, we learn, killed the babysitter's charges.

The phone call revelation was stolen from "Black Christmas" and used again in Wes Craven's "Scream". It's a good, creepy one, but it's a one-note revelation that you can not hang a feature film on.

The storyline involving detective Charles Durning (who is always good) and Colleen Dewhurst is pedestrian at best. Durning's search for the killer and his connection to Dewhurst grinds the narrative to a halt. Although the third act amps the suspense up once again, it comes to late to rescuscitate the corpse.

Carol Kane, the excellent actress from the underrated "The Mafu Cage" is terrific as babysitter Jill Johnson and makes us believe in her fear.

Fred Walton's almost shot-for-shot remaking of his accomplished short film is suspenseful and Hitchcockian in the extreme, but nothing can change the fact that the premise had nowhere to go after it had blown its first act wad.

Reviewed by TheAnimalMother 7 / 10

Solid Horror Creep Fest

If you like to watch horror films to challenge your comfort zone and get some real chills running down your spine. When A Stranger Calls(1979) is a pretty good bet to do the job. This film builds its tension quite well, partly by using well chosen and well placed music to increase the creepiness. Rather than resorting to needlessly overdone gore; This film relies mostly on the old tried and tested power of suggestion to mount most of its suspense and scare factor. A much more effective method in my view, and there is strong evidence of this here.

Make no mistake, this film is no masterpiece. It has its flaws. I found a couple of parts pretty unconvincing. Such as how easily John Clifford is able to convince Mrs.Mandrakis to let him in, and then help him. The execution of this part is a little weak. However that really doesn't take away from the films eerie feel and overall horror enjoyment. The film is pretty well paced, and kept leaving me wanting to see what was going to happen next; Where as many other horror films leave me not even caring what happens next. The acting here is pretty solid all the way around, and the direction is decent.

Usually I would rate a decent film like this, with a couple of somewhat unconvincing parts a 6 out of 10. However this film is definitely very effective in what it sets out to do. Which is of course to give the viewer some real creepy thrills. So I find it hard to give this any less than a 7. I got from it exactly what I had hoped. It could have been a little better in some areas, but all in all it's a pretty solid film. So as far as horror films go, this is in the upper echelon in my view.

Note: I only decided to watch this film based on an interview I saw with actress Jennifer Connelly on The Late Show with David Letterman. She basically said that this film scared the crap out of her. So being the film nut I am, I figured it was worth a look. And it was, so I owe thanks to her.


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