Thursday, June 14, 2007

When A Stranger Calls (2006)

Fear: 0/5
Gore: 0/5
Creepiness: 0/5
Entertainment: 1/5
Nightmares: 0/5

Plot goes like this: Babysitter is babysitting the kids and keeps getting creepy crank calls from an unknown person. After a while the caller begins to talk to her (the voice is Lance Hendriksen's, though he never actually appears in the film) and she realizes the stalker guy can see her. Then he breaks in and tries to get her. Then the cops come and everything is ok. The end.

This is a dopey, dull and pointless remake of a much better film, originally released in 1979. The original, starring Carol Kane of Taxi fame, was not the first to use the "the call is coming from within the house" schtick, but it was still fresh enough to have some effectiveness. And Carol Kane was great.

This time around, the star is younger and "hotter", the story is considerably different than the original and the internal-phone-call schtick isn't even used, opting instead to rely on caller ID ("Tiffany, I can see it's your phone", "This isn't Tiffany!" Blaaaugggh!).

The pace of this film is so slow it's maddening. The script must be about 5 pages long total: "Jill walks very very very very slowly towards the door. She slowly turns the knob. But only half way. Then pauses. Slowly. For like 5 minutes. Then she slowly opens the door and enters the next room. Then nothing happens. For a really long time".

Once the stalker/killer dude arrives, the scenes are totally blown as the babysitter character suddenly becomes very very dumb. Example: The killer is reaching around a door that she has locked with a chain and instead of hitting his hand, breaking his fingers, biting his arm or anything else one might do when forced into a situation like that, she stands around and screams with her hands at her side. Example number two: She hides in the pond out back under the walk way and when the killer starts reaching under to get her she simply moves a few inches back and forth doing nothing to defend herself. This sort of cliched horror bullshit never fails to infuriate me as I don't ever feel scared for the protagonist. I simply want them to get killed ASAP so that the film will end. It's a cheap way to build suspense and it always fails. Why it continues to be used in nearly ever teen slasher flick is beyond me. Maybe I'd be scared if I were 15.

Stinky Doo Doo.

- Complaint Dept.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i actually liked this movie simply BECAUSE of the slow pacing. i thought the tension in the buildup was really well done with the creepy sets. there was a good juxtaposition of "inside safe" and "outside evil" so that when she has to run from the house to the guest house, you are nervous the whole time. the fact that she doesn't get attacked makes it even better. so few movies employ the "less is more" approach these, i thought it was a nicely done.

- the fucking beard