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Pamela A. from WHEELING, WV Reviewed on 5/1/2009...
This movie kept me on the edge of my seat! Very thrilling! Well worth watching.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
One Of The Most Terrifying Movies Of All Time
Stephen B. O'Blenis | Nova Scotia, Canada | 09/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The sequel to 1979's good-but-not-spectacular "When A Stranger Calls" blows its predecessor out of the water in almost every way imaginable, in my opinion. The first 20 minutes or so of the film, which, like the original has a babysitter in the house(this time played by one of my personal favorites, Jill Schoelen) receiving increasingly ominous telephone calls, could be called a remake of the (admittedly great) first 20 minutes of the last one, but from there the two movies veer off in different directions, this one taking a darker and far eerier path. It's after the first 20 minutes that the film eases off the terror throttle a bit, both to get to know the characters better and to give the viewer a chance to breathe without having a heart attack.
Carol Kane, the babysitter from the first film, along with Charles Durning, the lead detective from the first, return to help with the police investigation, due to their experience in a similar situation years before. In my opinion, both give superior performances this time around, which along with the new cast members makes for one of the better ensembles of players out there. And as for the villain of the show, what can be said of this character? Not very much, for the antagonist remains a mystery until well into the final third.
After the brief respite following the opening terror, "When A Stranger Calls Back" rises quickly and dramatically in fright and intensity, and some of the most chilling and disturbing visual imagery ever conceived of comes into play towards the end.
A complete masterpiece, with intensity comparable (though not as much gore) to the first "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", the best "Hellraiser"s, and the deranged "House Of 1,000 Corpses"."
The Scariest Movie I've Ever Seen!
Paul | NYC | 08/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Forget "The Exorcist" this is the scariest movieyou'll ever see! The first 15 minutes of the film scared me so much that I literally could not move off the couch. Jill Schoelen plays Julia, a lovely, vulnerable girl who is doing a friend a favor by babysitting their kids. However, someone is going to make this night a living hell. Someone is watching Julia, toying with her like a cat and mouse. Unlike the original "Stranger" this film continues the suspense throughout the entire film. And yet, only one scene includes violence and blood. Carol Kane and Charles Durning reprise their roles, and I must say, are much more effective in this film. The ending of the film will shock you and leave you terrified for a very long time. I guarantee this will be the scariest film you've ever seen!"
The scariest 20 minutes in movie history!
P. I. Johnson | Cape Town, South Africa | 05/09/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Omigosh! The first 20 minutes of this movie alone is worth the sale price. Pure, undiluted suspense and terror that director Fred Walton delivers with the deliberate pace and tempo of a seasoned maestro. Walton is, of course, the under-appreciated horror auteur who delivered the original When a Stranger Calls with unexpected panache. (He also made the revisionist slasher movie April Fool's Day a forerunner of the ironic post-modern horror hipness of Scream, Cherry Falls and the like.) When a Stranger Calls Back is more a remake than a sequel, despite the return of the now much older central characters of the first film. Walton has effectively done what pioneering silent horror director Roland West did when he remade his 1926 silent movie The Bat as a talkie in 1930 - use changing film conventions and the steady accumulation of genre experience to attempt to deliver a better mousetrap. Unlike West though, Walton actually succeeds in delivering a film that is better and scarier than the original. How on earth this truly scary horror film failed to get a wider cinematic release given the pervasiveness of rubbish like I Still Know What You Did Last Summer is beyond comprehension. There have hardly been better suspense movies than this, which stands proudly in the league of Black Christmas and the original Spiral Staircase. The schema of Walton's sequel is pretty much that of the original - a nailbiting opening sequence with a young woman menaced by a clearly deranged madman, followed by a middle devoted to uncovering the killer and finally another edge-of-your-seat last third. Carol Kane is superbly world weary as the survivor from the original who now works as a campus woman's counsellor. She becomes involved in supporting one of her students who five years before had survived a similar experience to hers (the riveting opening sequence). The student is being harassed by an anonymous psycho with clear knowledge of her earlier experience. Kane calls on assistance from the detective (played with familiar comfort by the returning Charles Durning) who had assisted her in catching the killer in the original. Together, the three piece together the apparent mystery of what actually happened on that terrifying night five years before. With plenty of good shocks along the way, it culminates - as we expect and want - with a truly original showdown against the backdrop (literally as you shall see!) of Kane's sparse art deco loft. When a Stranger Calls Back is one of those under-released, underrated gems that slowly build their way to cult, then classic, status. In this regard, it is - alongside The Changeling, Black Christmas, Manhunter, The Conqueror Worm etc. - in superb company. Highly recommended for suspense and horror afficionados."
"Look Into The Living Room......"
P. I. Johnson | 02/04/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE FREAKIEST MOVIE LINE YET!!! One babysitter on her own with 2 sleeping kids. The phone calls begin and items dissappear. Doors she had checked previously that were locked mysteriously become unlocked, a paper written on in a notebook gets torn out somehow, and a mystery man at the door....or is he at the door?? These horrifying events result in a terrifying experience and explanation for the babysitter- and all this happens in the first 12 minutes of the movie! When Carol Kane and Charles Durning return to investigate on the alike situation Kane had as her role in the first movie WHEN A STRANGER CALLS, you won't be sorry! The roles are played fantastically! What's better? Just when you have bitten off all your nails from the movie's opening segment, more action and suspense happens. All I can say is you won't forget the horrifying opening in the movie! It's a great movie! Get WHEN A STRANGER CALLS BACK now!!!!!!!"
"It's dark...can't see...no phone..."
Kona | Emerald City | 07/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This superior made-for-TV movie opens with high school student Julia (Jill Schoelen) babysitting two children. A knock at the door is the beginning of a night of unspeakable terror and murder. Five years later, Julia is now a college student, still scarred by that night. Someone, it seems, has been breaking into her apartment and trying to scare her. The police think she's making it up, but college crisis counselor Jill (Carol Kane) believes her, and tries to find out who is after her, aided by her friend (Charles Durning). Soon, Jill becomes the stalker's new target.
This movie is going to terrify you; I guarantee it, especially if you were once a teenage girl who babysat alone. I've seen the movie several times over the years, and I still have to mute the sound and close my eyes when the tension is too much. Credit for this thriller's success goes to director Fred Walton who also wrote the script. You feel like you ARE Julia, all alone and scared senseless, and the creepiness never lets up. Schoelen is convincing as the hapless teen and quirky Carol Kane is always fun to watch. The movie delivers genuine thrills and you won't easily forget it. Highly recommended."