When a Stranger Calls (1979) – Review, Rating and Synopsis

When a Stranger Calls (1979) - Review, Rating and Synopsis

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  • Release Date:  1979
  • Genre:  Crime & Giallo
  • Cast and crew: Carol Kane, Rutanya Alda, Carmen Argenziano, Kirsten Larkin, William Boyett, Charles Durning, Ron O’Neal, Heetu, Rachel Roberts, Tony Beckley, Colleen Dewhurst, Michael Champion, Joseph Reale, Ed Wright, Louise Wright
  • Director:  Fred Walton
  • Screenwriter:  Fred Walton, Steve Feke

When a Stranger Calls (1979) Rating:

  • Dylan = 7.5 / 10;
  • Andrew = 7 / 10;
  • IMDb = 6.5 / 10;
  • Rotten Tomatoes = 3.3 / 10;

When a Stranger Calls (1979) Synopsis:

While babysitting for a rich doctor’s children, Jill Johnson received frightening phone calls that eventually the police scanned from coming inside the house. Jill is lucky to escape that night with her life, however, seven years later, the maniac escapes from a psych ward himself.  It’s now up to Officer Clifford to stop the madman from causing any more mayhem inside New York City.

When a Stranger Calls (1979) Review:

What’s fantastic about When a Stranger Calls is how much of a tone the first twenty minutes set for the rest of the movie. The initial babysitter scenes, performed by Carol Kane as Jill Johnson, are actually terrifying to watch. In my opinion, When a Stranger Calls is at the top with horror classics, such as Suspiria and Jaws, with a truly suspenseful, instant attention-grabbing introduction. The phone calls, in the beginning, are terrific and have some chilling lines.

After the babysitting scenes, the film spins into a different direction becoming a cat and mouse chase between a detective and the killer. It’s not that the middle section of the film was bad, but it really didn’t seem to flow that well from the initial climax. Tony Beckley, as Curt Duncan, portrayed a great menacing, at the same time sympathetic villain. Thereee are scenes that drag on more than I like to prefer but the payoff at the end of the film is definitely there. When a Stranger Calls is an underrated horror film having a terrific opening sequence, replay value, and nostalgia.

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