A decades-old folk tale surrounding a deranged murderer killing those who celebrate Valentine's Day turns out to be true to legend when a group defies the killer's order and people start turning up dead.
High school student Jill Johnson is traumatized over an evening of babysitting by a caller who repeatedly asks, "Have you checked the children lately?" After notifying the police, Jill is told that the calls are coming from inside the house... Written by
Betsy Bloomley <email@example.com>
Fred Walton originally shot this film as a short entitled 'The Sitter', which was essentially the opening 20 minutes of 'When A Stranger Calls'. However after the huge success of Halloween (1978) Walton saw the potential of expanding the short into a full-length feature. The script was then expanded into a feature length film about the pursuit of villain Curt Duncan. See more »
In the final scene, Jill goes to her bedroom closet to see if Curt Duncan is in there. She is about to open the door with her left hand. In the next shot, she opens it with her right hand. See more »
[thinking it's Curt again]
Leave me alone!
Jill, this is sergeant Sacker. Listen to me. We've traced the call... it's coming from inside the house. Now a squad car's coming over there right now, just get out of that house!
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"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)
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