A young babysitter, all alone in the house with two children asleep above, is bothered by a stranger. Unfortunately, the phone's dead...


Fred Walton


Fred Walton, Steve Feke (based on characters created by) | 1 more credit »
1 win. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Carol Kane ... Jill Johnson
Charles Durning ... John Clifford
Jill Schoelen ... Julia Jenz
Gene Lythgow ... William Landis
Karen Elizabeth Austin ... Skid Row Woman (as Karen Austin)
Babs Chula ... Agent
John Destry John Destry ... Detective 1 (as John Blackwell Destry)
Duncan Fraser ... Club Owner
Jenn Griffin ... Club Girl 1 (as Jennifer Griffin)
Gary Jones ... X-Ray Technician
Terence Kelly ... Medical Examiner
Michèle Lonsdale Smith ... Center Woman 1 (as Michele Lonsdale-Smith)
Kevin McNulty ... Dr. Schifrin
Sheelah Megill Sheelah Megill ... Center Woman 2 (as Sheelagh Megill)
Rebeccah Mullen Rebeccah Mullen ... Club Girl 2 (as Rebecca Mullen)


Julia is babysitting two young kids while a doctor and his wife are out. During the evening, a stranger knocks on the door asking Julia if she can call the auto club so he can get a tow. The phone line is dead though. This is all part of the act as he has made his way inside and abducted the two children. Years later, Julia has become an introvertive college student. She claims the stalker is back haunting her. Enter Jill Johnson and now retired cop John Clifford, who have reunited to help Julia find the stalker. Can they stop him before he strikes again? Written by Pat McCurry <ccgrad97@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Before there was "Scream," there was... the stranger.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for terror/violence, and for some nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Jill Schoelen tried to change one of Julia's lines in the opening scene, where she asks the stranger who she wants her to call. The line originally read: "Whom do you want to call?" Schoelen wanted to change it to who instead of whom, as she believed that Julia, being a young school student, would make such a mistake. Walton initially opposed, as Julia is dressed like a private school student and would speak more formally, but ultimately relented. Schoelen ended up saying the line as it was written in the script anyway. See more »


Jill Johnson had a husband and two kids in the original film, in the following years after she had been terrorized by the killer in the opening scene. This family of hers never appears in this film, nor are they mentioned either, and it appears that she lives alone in her apartment as well. See more »


Mrs. Schifrin: How do I look?
Dr. Schifrin: You look late. Beautiful, but late
See more »

Crazy Credits

"No one can see me now. No one hears me. I am invisible." For Tony Beckley See more »


Followed by When a Stranger Calls (2006) See more »

User Reviews

This one will scare the heebie-jeebies out of you
24 May 2006 | by krorieSee all my reviews

"When a Stranger Calls Back" is really a sequel to "When a Stranger Calls" and not just a remix. The 2006 "When a Stranger Calls" is actually a remake of the first twenty or so minutes of the original 1979 version which was the superior part of the film. The 1979 original drifted aimlessly for the middle third of the movie before regaining much of its momentum for the final third.

The made-for-cable "When a Stranger Calls Back" has some excellent scenes that do actually scare the heebie-jeebies out of the viewer. The use of the door rather than the telephone during the first part introduced a new aspect of the crazed psycho, that he could throw his voice. For this viewer the creepiest part occurred with Charles Durning encountering the monster in the alleyway. The cinematography with the camera zooming in on the creature all in black lurking in the darkness showing his blazon eyes before closing them for a full blackout is truly amazing. The angle of the shot showing Durning attempting to discover the hidden evil with the noir-like rain silhouetting his features is a stroke of cinema genius.

That the producers were able to reunite two of the key figures in the original after fourteen years makes "When a Stranger Calls Back" even more relevant as a sequel. Carol Kane and Charles Durning reprise their roles as babysitter Jill Johnson (Jill as in kill) and John Clifford respectively to great effect. The chemistry between the two is still present.

"When a Stranger Calls Back" is also more believable than the other two Stranger films. For instance, the babysitter does check the children first thing the way a real babysitter would do. "When a Stranger Calls Back" is not as brutal as the other two. In the made-for-cable sequel the children simply disappear. In the other two, there is no weapon found, meaning the the killer ripped the bodies to shreds using his bare hands.

If you enjoyed the 1979 flick, you should enjoy this one and the 2006 remake. All three are above average for mad slasher type suspense films.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Canada | USA



Release Date:

4 April 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

When a Stranger Calls 2 See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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