If ever there was a film ripe for remaking it would have to be the original When A Stranger Calls. It’s opening act is probably the best horror/thriller movie sequence ever filmed, but the rest of it was a plodding, dull detective story that seemed completely incompatible with the tone of the opening act. When I first heard that When A Stranger Calls was being remade with the first act from the original being the main focus of the new film I thought “what a bloody great idea.” Now I’m not so sure.
Director Simon West does the best he can but he has several things working against him: Firstly, it turns out that the basic premise is just too thin to stretch to feature length. Secondly, the killer moment that so shocked audiences in the original is no longer a surprise and therefore lacks the impact of the original. And lastly, it appears as though he was confined by the studio to deliver a film that could pass with a PG-13 rating in the US. The end result, whilst not great, is still not as bad as it’s reputed to be and not nearly as bad as it could have been. It’s reasonably suspenseful in some parts and wisely short.