When a Stranger Calls (2006)

When a Stranger Calls
Director: Simon West
Writer: Jake Wade Wall
Remake of: When a Stranger Calls
Cast: Camilla Belle, Tommy Flanagan, Katie Cassidy, Tessa Thompson, Brian Geraghty, Clark Gregg, Derek de Lint, Kate Jennings Grant

While everybody else in her school is partying, Jill (Camilla Belle) has to babysit at the Mandrakasis’ place: a gorgeous lake house in the middle of nowhere. But as soon as Jill is alone in the house with the kids, strange calls start coming in, the house alarm goes off and Jill feels less and less safe.

The film takes the first 20 minutes of the original and turns them into a full length film. And while they did have some nice ideas to modernize the whole thing, they can’t really keep the tension up.

I was surprised by Camilla Belle. Usually the acting powers in these films are, let’s say limited and this film asks a lot of Belle, having her in almost every frame, most of the time alone. And she handles that pretty well. It’s not an award-winning performance, but it’s functional.

Though she is continuously upstaged by that house. I mean, I’m usually not that into these hard lines and open spaces, nor do I need an in-house koi pond and aviary. But dammit, that house is amazing.

Unfortunately the rest of the film not so much. After the set-up, it starts to fall apart pretty quickly. It doesn’t make much sense and it just suffers from stupid protagonist syndrome. For example, why would you not re-arm the alarm system after it went off by “accident”?

And the fact alone that I had the time to wonder about these things already shows that movie just didn’t manage to keep up the tension or the suspense. I wasn’t scared, I didn’t wonder what was going to happen, nor did I care much.

Summarising: pretty standard fare.


  1. I challenge you to review the old “Prisoner” series (at least 1 or 2 episodes) with Patrick McGohaan. :)
    And I’d love to read your “Prometheus” review. (Do you also think that Michael Fassbender looks gorgeous?)

    • Oh, a difficult challenge – I’ve only ever seen the new one and it didn’t blow me away. But I accept, of course. :)

      I haven’t yet seen Prometheus, but I will and I’ll review it, of course.
      (Yes, Michael Fassbender is totally gorgeous but not necessarily in Prometheus where he looks too artificial.)

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