When a Stranger Calls (2006 film)

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When a Stranger Calls
When A Stranger Calls.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Simon West
Produced by John Davis
Wyck Godfrey
Ken Lemberger
Written by Jake Wade Wall
Starring Camilla Belle
Tommy Flanagan
Katie Cassidy
Clark Gregg
Music by James Dooley
Cinematography Peter Menzies Jr.
Edited by Jeff Betancourt
Production
company
Davis Entertainment
Screen Gems
Distributed by Screen Gems
Release dates
  • February 10, 2006 (2006-02-10)
Running time
87 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million[1]
Box office $66,966,987[2]

When a Stranger Calls is a 2006 American horror thriller film directed by Simon West and written by Jake Wade Wall. The film stars Camilla Belle, Tommy Flanagan, Katie Cassidy and Clark Gregg. Camilla Belle plays a babysitter who starts to receive threatening phone calls from an unidentified stranger, played by both Tommy Flanagan and Lance Henriksen. The film is a remake of Fred Walton's 1979 horror film of the same name.

The film was theatrically released on February 3, 2006 and received overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics. The film was a box office success nonetheless grossing over $66 million on a $15 million production budget.

Plot[edit]

On one side of town, a babysitter and the kids she is babysitting are brutally murdered. The police find that the murderer used his bare hands to tear them to shreds. The shot then changes to teenager Jill Johnson (Camilla Belle) who is going through a teenage crisis, having her boyfriend, Bobby (Brian Geraghty), cheat on her with her best friend Tiffany (Katie Cassidy), and going over 800 minutes on her cell phone, for which her dad, Ben (Clark Gregg), has her babysit for a wealthy family to pay the debt. The unfortunate timing causes Jill to miss out on a school bonfire which her other best friend, Scarlett (Tessa Thompson), is attending. Jill arrives at the elaborate Mandrakis House, which has a greenhouse built in the center. The parents (Derek de Lint and Kate Jennings Grant) show her around and tell her about their live in housemaid Rosa (Rosine Ace Hatem). Mrs Mandrakis then gives Jill their numbers, stating that they won't be back until midnight. As the kids (Arthur Young and Madeline Carroll) are seen to be upstairs asleep, Jill soon begins to receive anonymous phone calls.

Tiffany visits but Jill, fearing getting into further trouble, asks her to leave. However, tree branches knocked down by the storm outside block the road. When Tiffany gets out to move them, she is apparently attacked by an unknown figure. The calls continue, each one becoming more alarming, suggesting she is being watched. Jill calls the police, who tell her they can trace the calls if she is able to keep him on the line for one minute. Whilst waiting for the caller to ring, Jill sees someone in the guesthouse. After seeing a light switch on, Jill quickly makes her way back to the house. The phone rings, after which the police hurriedly inform her that the calls are coming from inside the house.

Jill finds Tiffany's dead body in the upstairs bathroom whilst investigating an active shower, and is soon attacked. She gets the kids and they run into the greenhouse. Jill finds Rosa dead as the attacker breaks in. They quickly escape and Jill manages to lock the man inside the greenhouse, but he finds an exit and attacks Jill. There is a struggle and Jill manages to burn the man's back and stab him in the hand with an iron poker, before rushing out of the house into the arms of a police officer, who tells her that she's safe.

As the stranger is taken by the police, his face is shown by the moonlight. Jill awakens in the psychiatric hospital and the phone rings. She lets it ring, worrying that the events will reoccur. She waits for a time and leaves the phone ring, the camera pans to her reflection in the mirror, revealing the stranger to be behind her. The man grabs Jill, who screams hysterically, waking up from her hallucination and finding herself still in the psychiatric hospital. The film ends with the doctors desperately trying to stop her frantic panicking, while the screen fades to black and the movie ends.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography began on January 1, 2005 and completed on 28 February 2005 in Vancouver, Canada. Bellarmine-Jefferson High School was used to portray the high school seen in the film while Signal Hill was used to portray the carnival shown in the film. Running Springs was used as the filming location for the road sequences. The house that was used in the film is located in Culver Studios - 9336 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City.

Casting[edit]

Evan Rachel Wood was offered the role of Jill Johnson but turned it down. Camilla Belle was then approached and almost turned the role down due to her personal dislike for horror films but Simon West convinced her that he was going more for a psychological thriller and so she accepted. To prepare for her role Belle had to do two months of weight-training and learning how to run. Belle was injured twice on the set, she struck a wooden bridge cutting and scarring her hand and also slammed her head against a glass window.

Music[edit]

Score[edit]

When a Stranger Calls: The Complete Original Motion Picture Score
Film score
Released February 10, 2006
Genre Film score
Length 47:53
Label Sony BMG Music Entertainment
Producer James Dooley

The album called as When a Stranger Calls: The Complete Original Motion Picture Score was 15-instrumental songs was composed by James Dooley will be omitting commercially released songs that were featured in the film it was released on February 10, 2006.

When a Stranger Calls: The Complete Original Motion Picture Score
No. Title Length
1. "Main Title"   00:04:51
2. "Fateful Drive"   00:02:57
3. "The House"   00:03:43
4. "Exploring"   00:05:16
5. "Have You Checked the Children"   00:05:11
6. "Tiffany"   00:02:55
7. "Knock Knock Who There"   00:07:18
8. "Curtain Call"   00:03:14
9. "60 Seconds"   00:03:39
10. "Inside the House"   00:04:12
11. "Stranger"   00:03:48
12. "Conflagration"   00:04:07
13. "Police Station"   00:02:44
14. "Lunatic Asylum"   00:03:58
15. "End Credits"   00:02:42
Total length:
01:00:35

Distribution[edit]

For the release of the film, AOL Instant Messenger ran ads beckoning users to IM Jill020306. When messaged, "Jill" (a Colloquis-style program) made small talk before panicking, as she received calls from a stranger asking her to check the children. She then gives the user her phone number (a toll-free 877 number) and asks them to call her. When users call, they hear an ad for the movie. Also, around the time of the DVD release, a new screen name appeared, Jill051606, to tie in with the DVD release date on May 16, 2006. It does not involve calling her, but instead she directs you to a video security system on the official DVD site where the shadow of the stranger passes by frequently.

MySpace ran an advertisement: the profile for Jill051606, in which users can add the profile as a friend, leave comments, and read Jill's blog.

Home media[edit]

The movie was released on May 16, 2006 on DVD. Special features include two audio commentaries (one with Camilla Belle and Simon West; the other with Jake Wade Wall), deleted scenes, a 20-minute making-of featurette, and trailers. A Blu-ray version of the film has yet to be released.

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

The film opened at No. 1 with $21,607,203.[3] As of March 19, 2006, the film grossed a total of $47.9 million in the domestic box office, and $19,106,773 internationally for a total worldwide gross of $66,966,987 million.[4]

Critical Reception[edit]

The film was almost universally panned from critics. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 9% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 91 reviews. The site's consensus reads "What's fitting punishment for running up the phone bill? Why have that person baby sit; that'll teach them. Or better yet, make that person [sic] through this poorly acted, fright-free remake of the 1979 movie of the same name. Camilla Belle is a looker, but she [sic] got nothing on Carol Kane, the actress who originally played the part, when it comes to range. The final straw is that the payoff isn't worth the tedium that comes before. Just hang up on this one."[5] The biggest criticism of the remake was that it gave away the moment of suspense from the original by revealing the source of the calls in the promotional trailers.

Accolades[edit]

In 2007, it was nominated to the Golden Trailer Awards in the category "Best Horror".

Cancelled sequel[edit]

Screen Gems had green-lit a sequel, rumored to be titled When a Stranger Returns, in which Hayden Panettiere was to play the babysitter. Screen Gems has since scrapped the film.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]