It’s Coming From Inside the House: When A Stranger Calls (2006)

when-a-stranger-calls-2006-posterWe traced the call! It’s coming from inside the house! Do you hear me? It’s coming from inside the house! You need to get out!

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.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying

 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.

Broken Heart

It turns out that her boyfriend and best friend hooked up! What jerks!

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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?

Oops!

Oops!

She really wants to go to the bonfire party, but the only place she is allowed to go is to babysit.

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

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.

money money 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.

MeanGirls I know right!

Only one problem, she is in the freakin’ middle of nowhere. But it is a beautiful house!

when a stranger calls

It has a so many glass windows and such, it also has an inside garden/aviary thing.

When a stranger calls

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.

Seems easy enough

Seems easy enough

So Jill gets ready for a night o’ fun. She eats popsicles and tries on jewelry and clothes.

Thesweetestthing.png movie montage

Everything is fun and games until Jill begins to receive anonymous and annoying phone calls.

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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.

Gilmore girls creep

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.

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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.

Goodbye now!

Goodbye now!

 

The calls continue getting even creepier.

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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.

What the

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.

Oh Crap! [Note: Pic from When a Stranger Calls not Phantoms]

Oh Crap!

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.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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.

Gilmore girls creep

As gross and creepy and Nightmare in Elm Street’s Freddy Kreugar.

EW!

EW!

That’s when everything starts to fall apart.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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”.

Save the Children!!!!

Save the Children!!!!

Jill is awesome how she takes down the stranger, totally kicking butt.

Kudos for carrying the crowbar

Kudos for carrying the crowbar

The cops come and capture the killer and cart him off, taking Jill with them to be looked at.

when a stranger calls

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.

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

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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

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I’ll Always Be There When You Need Me: Anastasia (1997)

Romantic Moment #9

anastasia

Anastasia (1997)

So this film is based on two things, the person Anastasia and the 1956 film of the same name. Anastasia was the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II Romanov. With the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the Czars were kicked out of power and later killed. The only body to not be found was Anastasia, which lead to a rumor that she wasn’t dead, but was still out there and would return one day. There was actually a woman who claimed she was the real Anastasia, going by the name Anna, but even though she knew countless details that only a Romanov would have known; it was later determined that she wasn’t Anastasia. The 1956 film, while starring the wonderful Ingrid Bergman and the very handsome Yul Brynner; was not very good. Yul Brynner was too mean and Bergman was too hysterical, etc. It just sucked. So about twenty years later Fox remade a animated version that had more likable characters, a more adventurous plot, and a collection of wonderful songs. I love the songs in this movie; Rumor in St. Petersburg, Journey to the Past, Paris Holds the Key (To Your Heart)and (my fav) At the Beginning.

That said, there is one other little thing I want to clear up. Anastasia is not a disney movie. I REPEAT! ANASTASIA IS NOT A DISNEY MOVIE! DISNEY DID NOT MAKE THIS MOVIE!!! It was 20th Century Fox! FOX MADE IT! FOX! FOX! FOX! FOX! It just urks me how people call it a Disney movie because it IS NOT A DISNEY MOVIE!

Anya

So the film begins in 1916 Russia, where the Czar is giving a party. His mother, the Dowager Empress (Angela Lansbury) is visiting from France. She and his youngest daughter, have a close connection and the Dowager gives her a secret music box and a locket that is a key, that have the saying “Together in Paris”. The ball is interrupted by their “holy man” Rasputin (he was a real creepo) played by Christopher Lloyd. Rasputin is mad at the Romanovs for trying to banish him, and has sold his soul to brung destruction on all of them. The Dowager and Anastasia are saved by a kitchen boy, who sneaks them out through a secret passage. They run for a train, but Anastasia trips and is left behind.

Fast forward ten years, the Dowager Empress has put out notice of a heavy reward to anyone who can bring her, her granddaughter. Dimitri (John Cusack), the kitchen boy, is all grown up and has been having tryouts to find someone to play Anastasia so he can get the money and be gone from Russia forever. He and his partner, Vladimir, an ex member of the Royal Court, both have the knowhow to get it done. Dimitri also has the music box.

Meanwhile, Anya (Anastasia), played by Meg Ryan, has been living with amnesia in an orphanage. Now being of age, she is being sent out to work. Instead of following the directions given to her, she decides to follow a stray dog she found and head to St. Petersburg and ultimately, Paris.

The two meet up in the old Romanov palace as Dimitri and Vladmir have gone there to lick their wounds, no applicants worked out, and Anya wants to get papers from Dimitri to get out of Russia. They notice her similarities to Tsarina Alexandra and offers it as a potential way to find her family, not telling her about the money (you know that old cliché). They board the train and are on there way

Meanwhile, Rasputin is rotting in Purgatory, as he can’t go off to hell until all the Romonavs are dead, and can’t go topside because he lost his glass vial of evil I guess (I’m not sure what its real name is), is lost. Bartok, his pet bat has found the vial and goes down telling him about Anastasia’s “rebirth”. Rasputin goes up to kill her.

Back on the train, Anya and Dimitri feel a little something for each other but are mean to each other not wanting to admit it. They have to move to the baggage cart as things have changed under Stalin. While there, Rasputin attacks and they have to switch to a boat. Rasputin attacks them, and Dimitri saves her. They eventually reach Paris, and Anya passes all the tests, solidifying it when she answers that she was saved by a kitchen boy. Dimitri hears this and knows that she is the real deal. The only issue is, the Dowager has decreed to see no one again. They decide to surprise her at the opera, Dimitri deciding to let her go and to do everything he could to help her connect to her family. Dimitri’s scheme has reached the Dowager’s ears and she really lays into him, with Anya overhearing. Anya is pissed that Dimitri lied to her and runs off to her hotel room. Dimtri then drives the Dowager over there and the two talk and are united. They have a ball to welcome her back, with Vladmir being reinsteated and honored with medals. The Dowager offers Dimitri the money, but he refuses (sound like someone you know?) and takes off. That night, Rasputin attacks Anya, Dimitri returns, and they defeat Rasputin. The two elope and run off, Anya telling her grandmother that she will see her again soon.

Most Romantic Moment:

Just like 10 Things I Hate About You it was hard to choose the “most romantic moment” as it was chock full, but I can only pick one.

So Dmitri has left. He could have told Anya what he did for her when she was a kid. He could tell her that  he was the one who saved her as a child. He could have told her that he figured out she was Anastasia and tried to help her at the Opera to get in to see the Dowager. He could have told her that he made sure that the two had a chance to talk because he wanted to reunite her with her family.  He could have told her he didn’t take the money. Instead, he wanted to make her dreams come true. She made him want to reform his conman ways.

better man

But Dmitri has no illusions. Even if he changed his ways, he knows nothing will happen between them.

Dimitri

So he leaves. He leaves because he knows that she needs more than he can give, she needs someone better. (Sound like someone else we know?)

you deserve better

Meanwhile, back at the ball Anastasia is being attacked by Rasputin. He has her down, and just when you think its over, Dimitri comes running in to save the day.

OMG

Yes! HE CAME BACK TO BE WITH HER! Even though it doesn’t make any sense. Even though coming back might not change anything, he DOES IT ANYWAY! Even though there is no guarantee that they will get together. Even though he knows she still might be angry with him and kick him to the curb. It doesn’t matter. He loves her so much he has to tell her how he feels. That’s so romantic!

So romantic!

So romantic!

And in the case of true love,  coming back always works out.

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He’s always been there for her.

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