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When a Stranger Calls

(2006)  1/2 Pg-13
87 min. Screen Gems. Director: Simon West. Cast: Camilla Belle, Tommy J. Flanagan, Tessa Thompson, Brian Geraghty, Clark Gregg.
The 2006 remake When a Stranger Calls brainlessly stumbles through a few of the motions from the 1979 original. The plot here is simple: dull-witted babysitter (Camilla Belle) gets harassing phone calls and fears a life-threatening assault. I don't want to give anything away here, but you think maybe a life-threatening assault may happen before the credits roll? Director Simon West serves up a full hour of fishiness, all red herrings and bait and switch before anything happens. And what happens is well known to every potential audience member, from ubiquitous TV ads; trailers; the previous When a Stranger Calls films; similar films like Black Christmas, Scream, and for that matter, Red Eye; and the scary story told and retold on playgrounds and around campfires. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you still shouldn't see this movie, since it's dull as dirt until its adrenalized slasher-lite climax. But if you still, inexplicably, think you might want to see it, download the trailer. It's cheaper, quicker, and efficiently shows you everything you think you want to see from the movie.
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