This leaves young Belle (The Ballad of Jack and Rose) to wander rooms aimlessly, and for the musicians and Foley artists to work feverishly pretending there's reason for suspense.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
The film is not quite suspense-free, but almost. When finding a dead body underwater isn't scary, something is very wrong.
Anita Gates - New York Times
Peter Bradshaw - Guardian [UK]
When a Stranger Calls has been remade -- with undistinguished if inoffensive results -- by Simon West, who is quickly becoming a reliable purveyor of Hollywood's dreckiest dreck.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
Even by the lowest standards, this is a frightless, cynically made movie.
Wesley Morris - Boston Globe
This version is a thin, protracted study in shifting Hollywood strategies.
Matt Singer - Village Voice
For real thrills, rent the original, turn down the lights and scare yourself silly.
Elizabeth Weitzman - New York Daily News
A modestly clever concept gets indifferent execution in When a Stranger Calls, another bigger-yet-blander remake of an allegedly classic' '70s shocker.
Joe Leydon - Variety
The scare-free When a Stranger Calls is the worst of the seminal horror movies from the late '70s and early '80s that have been getting the remake treatment lately.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
It's funny how the story's mechanics hold up in the age of cells (static) and caller ID.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
If there's a single dead-wrong instinct in this movie that isn't pursued with the blind determination of an amorous terrier during high-scent season, darned if I can remember it.
Geoff Pevere - Toronto Star
A production that never comes close to realizing its potential to tweak the viewer's primal fears.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
This week's installment in the 'this film is so bad we're not screening it for critics' series.
Frank Scheck - Hollywood Reporter
Nell Minow - Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
Gary Dowell - Baltimore City Paper
Felix Vasquez Jr. - Cinema Crazed
Tom Meek - Boston Phoenix
Amateurish direction by Simon West ("Laura Croft: Tomb Raider") contributes to the utter failure of this pathetic update of the original film of the same title.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
Dean Essner - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Garth Franklin - Dark Horizons
Joe Lozito - Big Picture Big Sound
If you've seen either Black Christmas or Halloween, there's nothing new here: the hyped-up score keeps telling us we ought to be scared, but the suspense feels mechanical and fake.
Nigel Floyd - Time Out
David Edwards - Daily Mirror [UK]
...just as needless a remake as one might've expected.
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
No plot, no originality, no stars -- and no reason for you to go and see this crap.
Liz Braun - Jam! Movies
You know a horror movie's in trouble when the fake scares outweigh the real ones.
Matthew Leyland - BBC
I can't help feeling that this updating could have been a little more imaginative -- the only wrinkle on the basic plot is that it uses mobile phones.
Robert Hanks - Independent
Atmospheric but generally disappointing thriller, despite a passably tense climax and an eye-catching performance by newcomer Camilla Belle.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
While teen chillers tend to be exercises in extreme dullness, at least director Simon West tries to wring some suspense out of the scenes here.
Harry Guerin - RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)
Loud, noisy, flashy but too rarely chilling.
Kim Newman - Empire Magazine
Having abstained from character development and stalling for something to do between calls, the movie dwells in the house's dark corners, plugging plot holes with overzealous sound design.
Jonathan Kiefer - Sacramento News & Review
This year's "I Know What You Did Last Summer"...You'll be totally immersed and near on the verge of drawing sweat
Clint Morris - Brag Magazine
god damn why in the world would they only remake the first 20 minutes?
Stefan Birgir Stefansson - sbs.is
Nao percebe que a premissa e insuficiente para sustentar 90 minutos de duracao e, consequentemente, o resultado deixa muito a desejar com relacao ao original.
Pablo Villaca - Cinema em Cena
...it did half the trick for me and for that...it receives half the marks.
JoBlo - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
Dean Essner - Sydney Morning Herald
I'll be damned if I can find anything to like
Luke Y. Thompson - New Times
This remake of a 1979 thriller starring Carol Kane isn't particularly mysterious ... Unexpectedly, given his background in exploitation dramas, director Simon West doesn't push the horror to the max.
Urban Cinefile Critics - Urban Cinefile
Long distance information? Get me Hollywood, USA: I've got a rusty ice pick to bury in the gullet of whoever greenlighted this pointless exercise.
Marc Savlov - Austin Chronicle
When a Stranger Calls understands that when alone and isolated in an unfamiliar place, an overactive imagination can be as frightening as any real threats.
Mark Pfeiffer - Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
The only reason to watch this punishingly dull remake is to ogle raven-haired beauty Camilla Belle.
Steve Newton - Georgia Straight
Download the trailer. It's cheaper, quicker, and efficiently shows you everything you think you want to see from the movie.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
The original should have been a short film; the new version shouldn't exist at all.
Scott Tobias - AV Club
Just in case there was anyone out there who didn't already know the payoff revelation, the commercial considerately spells it out, thus saving those viewers who like suspense for their $7.50 their ticket money.
Christine James - Boxoffice Magazine
[Belle] seems only able to summon up an emotion that approximates how I feel when I have poured a bowl of cereal and realize I am out of milk.
Devin Faraci - CHUD
Features an ending guaranteed to confuse and confound morons.
Jon Popick - Planet Sick-Boy
What to remake next? 'My Bloody Valentine' or 'Sorority House Massacre'?
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
If you answer, you may be bored to death.
John Wirt - Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
Exhibits not a smidgen of awareness that its premise has been ripped off 500 times and parodied in three Scream movies.
Steve Schneider - Orlando Weekly
Stranger is one long tease that, instead of building tension around Jill's efforts to outwit her mysterious stalker, has her run around the house, unsuccessfully calling every friend, cop and family member she knows.
Tim Grierson - L.A. Weekly
[Its] few jolts will work only if you've never seen a scary movie before.
Daniel Eagan - Film Journal International
A lot of boredom leading to a reel of running around in the dark and a Carrie rip-off shock tag scene as the cinematic maraschino cherry on top.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Never babysit in a house by a swamp without a gun.
Victoria Alexander - FilmsInReview.com
Sorry, wrong number
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
Since 'Scream' steered the horror film into post-modernism, something this anachronistically limiting, unaware -- and just plain dumb -- almost seems quaint. Almost.
Jonathan R. Perry - Tyler Morning Telegraph (Texas)
The result looks good, but nothing else.
Mark Palermo - Coast (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
A scary final 15 minutes, but until the climax and epilogue, we're confronted with mostly dead air.
John P. McCarthy - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Dial M for mediocre.
Lisa Rose - Newark Star-Ledger
When a Stranger Calls is basically a poorly written episode of "The Babysitter's Club" but with a body count.
Uri Lessing - eFilmCritic.com
I used my minutes for this.
Michael Clawson - West Valley View
As edgy and unpredictable as a Mandy Moore video.
Matt Pais - Metromix.com
Then I'm like 'what's the movie called?' And he's like 'When a Stranger Calls.' And I'm like 'Is it about telemarketing?'
Mark Ramsey - MovieJuice!
One of those frustrating films that squanders its own good ideas with sloppy genre cop outs...but for genre fans used to wading through scores of bad films to find the occasional goodie, this one ain't half bad.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Put this inane remake on your "do not call" list.
Susan Granger - Modamag.com
This thing is a movie like static is a song.
Scott Weinberg - eFilmCritic.com
Incoherence can be a point. But not when the coherence of the plot -- the endangered babysitter -- is already in circulation.
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
An open letter to the filmmakers of the worst movie I've ever seen in my life...
Mike Ward - Richmond.com
One of the premier horror films of recent years.
Phil Villarreal - Arizona Daily Star
Where the original had shocks, jolts, creepiness and the horror of a child-murdering monster, this cute-ified version has spooky black cats that jump out of closets and a heroine who can't even be bothered to register fear on her face.
Dean Essner - E! Online
West dials up a wrong number in this flimsy remake of the 1979 B-movie...When A Stranger Calls feels about as flat and plastic as a long distance phone card.
Frank Ochieng - Movie Eye
Dean Essner - Bullz-Eye.com
The horribly misguided, knuckle-brained advertising campaign ... turns a fairly uninspired thriller into a completely useless one.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
Stylistically and technically, the film is top-notch.
Dustin Putman - DustinPutman.com
When the studios start bitching about lackluster blockbuster performance again, feel free to point out that brainless crap like this is a big reason for it.
Pete Vonder Haar - Film Threat
awfully drawn out at 90 minutes
Keith Breese - Filmcritic.com
This latest horror remake may not necessarily pack the same horrifying wallop as the original, but When a Stranger Calls is still a classic example of a babysitter's worst nightmare.
Kit Bowen - Hollywood.com
While not a complete fiasco, this Screen Gems release mostly fails to get your pulse racing -- a cardinal sin for a thriller.
Timothy Knight - Reel.com
I expected this film to suck wind like you wouldn't believe.... I was pleasantly surprised.
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
The bare-bones story simply can't survive being stretched to a feature-length running time.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
With a low body count and PG-13 gore, "Stranger" will have a tough time in the glutted horror market. It takes what was memorable about the original and makes it forgettable.
Dan Fienberg - Zap2it.com
Dave White - Movies.com
Don't answer this made-for-TV style stinker.
Jeff Otto - IGN Movies
[A] useless remake.
Ken Fox - TV Guide's Movie Guide
A minimum effort horror movie. It does just enough to scare easily unnerved thirteen-year-old girls, and not much else.
Joshua Tyler - CinemaBlend.com
Elongates its source material's memorable opening segment to the 83-minute breaking point.
Nick Schager - Slant Magazine
In a just world, teenagers will see the garbage that Screen Gems is trying to shovel down their throats with Stranger, and ignore it like they would a concerned parent.
Brian Orndorf - FilmJerk.com
An excruciating bore, a hopeless hodgepodge of the hoariest imaginable horror movie cliches...When this 'Stranger' calls, just hang up.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
'Dial M for Moronic'... the call is still coming from inside the house -- and the stench is coming from inside the theater.
James Sanford - Kalamazoo Gazette
There's little of originality or novel invention here, and certainly nothing of essentiality.
Brent Simon - Now Playing Magazine
How many false alarms can you have before the audience finally gets impatient and bored? Two? Three? TEN?!?!?!
Eric Lurio - Entertainment Insiders
If you've seen the first 10 minutes of Scream, you've seen the first half... this remake isn't terrible, but you know exactly when the director runs out of tricks...
Kevin A. Ranson - MovieCrypt.com
Nothing in this droopy remake of the 1978 thriller starring Carol Kane could possibly be as frightening as the Windex bill for those two-story picture windows, not to mention the ones that surround the indoor arboretum and fish pond.
Jan Stuart - Newsday
Films like this are more sad than anything else.
Walter Chaw - Film Freak Central
Not as bad as it could have been, but still a great concept with no actual substance, few scares, and lots of cliches.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
some of the cast is so bad it made me wonder if they won some sort of internet contest, or were the fifth caller on a radio station to get their roles
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
The film contains no suspense, no scares, and absolutely no reason for existing.
Bill Clark - FromTheBalcony
Heavy duty horror fans will not be willing to pay this phone bill, but the core audience for this PG-13 thriller will more than likely take the Stranger's call this weekend.
Staci Layne Wilson - Horror.com