So I love this movie so much! It came out during the period of remakes of 1970s horror films, you had Dracula 2000, The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), The Wicker Man (2006), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Carrie (2002), The Omen (2006), The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Dawn of the Dead (2004), Halloween (2007), and Invasion (2007).
I thought it was a great remake, although I’ve never seen the original. And as the trailer revels the climatic ending I don’t feel bad about doing so either.
So the film starts off a police cleanup as a baby-sitter and the kids she had been watching were ripped to shreds.
Then we cut to out protagonist Jill who is practicing track. She is suffering from a supremo of bad days. Her times are all off and she needs to improve her speed. Part of the reason she is sucking so much is that she is distracted by her broken heart.
It turns out that her boyfriend and best friend hooked up! What jerks!
And she is grounded because she went over the mins on her phone. Remember, back in the day when every cellphone plan had min limits, and everyone was going over them all the time?
She really wants to go to the bonfire party, but the only place she is allowed to go is to babysit.
Yep, the money from the job is supposed to be enough to cover the cost of the phone bill. They must be paying her an awful lot of money.
To further her punishment, she can’t have her own car but has to be dropped off by her dad and then dropped off by the couple when they return from their night. Now this is a pretty sweet baby-sitting job. It is for a rich family, who lets you eat anything in the house, watch things on their massive TV, getting paid lots of money, and you don’t even have to look after the kiddos as they’re sick.
Only one problem, she is in the freakin’ middle of nowhere. But it is a beautiful house!
It has a so many glass windows and such, it also has an inside garden/aviary thing.
Now my home has a whole wall of windows, so when I first watched this with my friends we were all freaked out during the…well I’ll save that for later.
So Jill doesn’t have much to do as the kids are sick and knocked out upstairs. The maid is there, but will be leaving shortly after she finishes her rounds. The couple have an older son who attends college and he may or may not be coming back to visit, but if he does he’ll crash in the guest house in their backyard.
So Jill gets ready for a night o’ fun. She eats popsicles and tries on jewelry and clothes.
Everything is fun and games until Jill begins to receive anonymous and annoying phone calls.
Jill Johnson: [phone rings] Hello? [no answer] [sighs] Mandrakis Residence.
Voice of the Stranger: Have you checked the children?
Jill Johnson: What
[Stranger hangs up. Jill runs and checks on the children. Comes back downstairs]
Jill Johnson: [phone rings] Hello?
Voice of the Stranger: [pauses] How were the children?
At this point in the film if you look hard enough you can actually see him watching her through the window while she is walking around and talking to her on the phone.
In between she gets some creepy calls from her ex’s friends. She gets even more calls, but then one turns out to be her ex-friend Tiffany. Tiff the big, bad, boyfriend stealer.
Tiff comes and tries to fix things between them, with Jill feeling lukewarm about the whole thing. She kicks Tiff out, who tries to leave but can’t as a tree blocks her path. A tree that wasn’t there earlier. That means only one thing, bye-bye Tiff.
The calls continue getting even creepier.
Jill Johnson: Tiffany, I know it’s you. I can see your name on Caller ID, genius.
Voice of the Stranger: This isn’t Tiffany.
Jill Johnson: Who is this?
Voice of the Stranger: [pause] Who is this?
Jill Johnson: Cody?
Voice of the Stranger: Who’s Cody?
Jill Johnson: You better cut this out!
[stranger hangs up]
Now for the most part Jill is pretty smart girl. She calls the police and tries to get them to trace the call and get rid of her stalker. She keeps the security system on at all times. When she sees a light go on in the guest house, she thinks it might be the son and tries to get him to come back with her to help.
She turns the security system off and runs down to the guest house to get the son. When she gets in there, she discovers that there is no one there.
Jill concludes that it must have been the maid, going over here to clean and then left after she completed the job. She runs back to the house, causing the security system to go off. She gets a call from the company, but tells them that it is only her. She must have only thought she turned the system off.
She continues to get more calls from “the Stranger”, telling her that he can see her.
Jill Johnson: He can see me!
Officer Burroughs: Sorry?
Jill Johnson: It’s Jill, the girl who called before about the man who keeps on calling.
Officer Burroughs: What’s going on?
Jill Johnson: He called me again.
Officer Burroughs: What did he say?
Jill Johnson: He’s out there, he’s outside, he’s watching me through the windows.
Officer Burroughs: Did you see him?
Jill Johnson: No, but I know he can see me, because I went upstairs…
Officer Burroughs: Okay, take a deep breath, where’s the house keeper?
Jill Johnson: I don’t know, I saw her purse and the keys but I can’t find her.
Officer Burroughs: The house locked up?
Jill Johnson: Yes.
Officer Burroughs: Alarm system?
Jill Johnson: It’s on.
Officer Burroughs: Okay, you’re safe inside that house. If he wanted to break in, he wouldn’t be calling.
Jill Johnson: But he must want something!
Officer Burroughs: Listen to me, Miss, it’s just some a****** trying to hassle you.
So when my friends and I were watching this film, we were in the living room which has a whole wall made entirely out of windows, similar to the house in the film. There is also a window behind the TV. As we were watching this part, something hit our window.
Our cat had jumped up on the fence outside and hit the window with her tail. We were just so into the film that we were creeped out.
So back to the film. So Jill keeps trying to talk to “the Stranger” so the police can trace the calls. It is so creepy, it was like when that crazy girl kept calling/texting me last spring.
Jill Johnson: [On phone] You really scared me, if that’s what you wanted. Is that what you wanted?
Voice of the Stranger: No.
Jill Johnson: What do you want?
Voice of the Stranger: Your blood all over me.
As gross and creepy and Nightmare in Elm Street’s Freddy Kreugar.
That’s when everything starts to fall apart.
Besides Tiff, Jill also finds the body of the housemaid. She tries to help save the children, but end up getting in a deadly fight with “the Stranger”.
Jill is awesome how she takes down the stranger, totally kicking butt.
The cops come and capture the killer and cart him off, taking Jill with them to be looked at.
The ending is great, with its nod to Friday the 13th. Check it out, it is an amazing film!
The creepiest thing about this film is how the guy watches her and how he gets in the house and does the whole cat and mouse game. It is such a creeptastic film.
To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart
For more on When a Stranger Calls, go to Do You Know Where Alex Is?
For more on psychopathic killers, go to Everyone’s Entitled to One Good Scare
For more great remakes, go to Redone Done Right