When a Stranger Calls1979
When a Stranger Calls (1979)
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as Jill Johnson
as John Clifford
as Curt Duncan
as Curt Duncan
as Mrs. Mandrakis
as Dr. Mandrakis
as Sgt. Sacker
as Lt. Charlie Garber
as Dr. Monk
as Retired Man
as Retired Woman
as Mrs. Garber
as Maintenance Man
as Bar Customer
as Bianca Lockart
as Stevie Lockart
as Stephen Lockart
as Maitre D'
as Mrs. Shifrin
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Critic Reviews for When a Stranger Calls
To appreciate just how different it is from the other entries in this then still nascent subgenre [the slasher], we need to move on from its opening to its more critically neglected middle section.
Although Walton contrives to keep most of his contrivances on the safe side of absurdity, "Stranger" is at best a close call.
When a Stranger Calls does not herald a major film-making talent -- it's just another textbook experiment in terror. You will jump, though.
What counts in a suspense movie is the way in which tension mounts in which the film leads you on, in the way climaxes explode on the screen.
Two movies, one sandwiched inside the other, and the two movies have completely different goals, tones, and arguably even genres.
Audience Reviews for When a Stranger Calls
This is like two completely different movies in one, only the first and last 20 minutes are much tenser and vastly superior to the 60 minutes in between - which sadly shifts its focus to the killer and clearly wants to be more like Peeping Tom than Halloween or Black Christmas.
This was originally based off of a short, which is the first twenty minutes of the film, and it obviously shows. The creators tried to build off of it, but lost all the suspense by shifting the genre from horror to dull thriller. While I believed the film would be about a cat and mouse game between a babysitter and a killer on the phone, that's only the first part of the film. The rest of the film revolves around the killer and his escape from a sanitarium. Instead of making him creepy and perverted to an extreme degree, much of the film humanizes him by showing his exploits after he escapes. The film does share with us how he has killed, and the depravity in those actions, but we see none of it. How are we, the audience, supposed to be scared of someone who we constantly see being afraid, alone, and pathetically misunderstood? There's absolutely nothing tense or thrilling about the intermingling middle hour of this film. Even when Charles Durning's character tracks the killer down and blows a door off its hinges, it's more comical than anything. The very end is at least thrilling, but it comes too little too late after sitting through the tiresome slog of the middle.
When a Stranger Calls is a pulse pounding horror film. This is one of those films that use suspense to build effective horror to create the tension on-screen. Director Fred Walton crafts a tension filled horror film that combines suspense, terror with a few slasher film elements and crime film rolled into one film. The thing that impressed me about When a Stranger Calls is the fact that director Fred Walton keeps the gore on a down low, unlike so many other horror films in the slasher genre of the 1980's, this one relies more on the suspense factor to build up the terror and tone of the entire film. Like with every viewer, I have to say that the first twenty minutes of this film are the most terrifying and intense; ion other words, it starts the film off with a bang. I enjoyed this film and I think it's a very good concept for a horror flick. I think the fact that the film limits its gore factor much like Halloween did, adds a lot more credibility to the film. The acting is good here, and the actors deliver memorable performances. When a Stranger Calls is different, and it's a film that blend psychological horror with a few slasher elements, but isn't a straight forward bloodbath. When a Stranger Calls is a terrific horror flick that uses traditional horror elements to create the horror that we see on-screen. The result is a terrifying and memorable film
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