When a Stranger Calls (2006 film)

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When a Stranger Calls
When A Stranger Calls.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Simon West
Produced by John Davis
Wyck Godfrey
Ken Lemberger
Written by Jake Wade Wall
Based on When a Stranger Calls
by Steve Feke and Fred Walton
Music by James Dooley
Cinematography Peter Menzies Jr.
Edited by Jeff Betancourt
Davis Entertainment
Screen Gems
Distributed by Screen Gems
Release date
  • February 3, 2006 (2006-02-03)
Running time
87 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million[1]
Box office $66.9 million[2]

When a Stranger Calls is a 2006 American horror film directed by Simon West and written by Jake Wade Wall. The film stars Camilla Belle, Brian Geraghty, Katie Cassidy in her film debut and Clark Gregg. Belle plays a babysitter who starts to receive threatening phone calls from an unidentified stranger, played by both Tommy Flanagan and Lance Henriksen. The film is a remake of Fred Walton's 1979 horror film of the same name which became a cult classic for its legendary opening 20 minutes which this remake extended to a feature-length film.

The film was theatrically released on February 3, 2006, and received generally negative reviews from critics. It grossed over $66.9 million worldwide on a $15 million budget.


On one side of town, a babysitter and the kids she is babysitting are brutally murdered outside a funfair. The police find that the murderer used his bare hands to tear them to shreds. The shot then changes to teenager Jill Johnson (Camilla Belle), who is going through a teenage crisis at high school: having her boyfriend, Bobby (Brian Geraghty), cheat on her with her best friend Tiffany (Katie Cassidy) and going over 800 minutes on her cell phone for which her father Ben (Clark Gregg), has her babysit for a wealthy family to pay off the debt causing Jill to be grounded for one month. The unfortunate timing causes Jill to miss out on a school bonfire, which her other best friend, Scarlett (Tessa Thompson), is attending. Jill arrives at the elaborate Mandrakis House in Elan Valley, which has a greenhouse built in the center. It houses many birds and has a pool containing several fish. The parents (Derek de Lint and Kate Jennings Grant), show her around and tell her about their live-in housemaid Rosa Ramirez (Rosine Ace Hatem). Mrs. Mandrakis then gives Jill their numbers, stating that they won't be back until midnight. As the kids (Arthur Young and Madeline Carroll) are seen to be upstairs asleep, Jill soon begins to receive anonymous phone calls.

Tiffany visits but Jill, fearing in getting into further trouble, asks her to leave. However, a tree branch, knocked down by the storm outside, blocks the road near the gate. When Tiffany gets out to move the broken branch, she is apparently attacked by an unknown figure. The calls continue, each one becoming more alarming, suggesting she is being watched. Jill calls the police, who tell her they can trace the calls if she is able to keep him on the line for one minute. While waiting for the phone to ring, Jill sees a shadow moving in the guesthouse. She goes there to investigate, but finds that the guest house is empty. After seeing a light switch on in the house, Jill quickly makes her way back to the main house. She then starts upstairs toward the maid's room when the phone rings again. The unknown stalker continues to remain quiet on the other end as Jill tries to keep him talking for 60 seconds so the call can be traced by the police. As Jill opens the door to the maid's room, where she hears the shower running, she asks the man on the phone "What do you want?!". He replies "Your blood.....all over me". As Jill hangs up instantly, the police call back right away telling her that the calls are coming from inside the house. The phone disconnects as Jill hears another phone ringing in the bathroom. She turns and finds Tiffany dead on the bathroom floor with her cell phone right next to her. Jill shrieks with terror to see her friend dead.

As Jill collects the Mandrakis children, she looks up to see the stranger looking down at her from the loft. Jill and the children run into the greenhouse. Jill discovers the housemaid Rosa dead inside the pool as the attacker breaks in. They quickly escape and Jill manages to lock the man inside the greenhouse, but he finds another way out and attacks her. During the ensuing struggle, Jill manages to burn the man's back with the fireplace and then stab him in the hand with an iron fireplace poker, before rushing out of the house into the arms of an Elan Valley police officer.

As the injured stranger is taken by the police, his face is shown by the moonlight staring at her. While recuperating, Jill awakens in the hospital and the phone rings. She lets it ring, worrying that the horrific events will reoccur. She waits for a time and leaves the phone ringing, the camera pans to her reflection in the mirror, revealing the stranger to be behind her. The man grabs Jill, who shrieks hysterically, waking her hallucination and finding herself still in the hospital while yelling that "he's in the house". The film ends with the doctors and her dad desperately trying to stop her frantic panicking, while the screen fades to black and the movie ends.



Screen Gems first announced production of When a Stranger Calls in August 2004, with Jake Wade Wall penning the script. Screen Gems had plans to release both a remake of the original film and a sequel titled When a Stranger Returns.[3][4]


Evan Rachel Wood was offered Jill Johnson's role, but turned it down. Camilla Belle was then approached and almost turned the role down due to her personal dislike for horror films but Simon West convinced her that he was going more for a psychological thriller and so she accepted. To prepare for her role Belle had to do two months of weight-training and learning how to run. Belle was injured twice on the set, she struck a wooden bridge cutting and scarring her hand and also slammed her head against a glass window.[citation needed]


Principal photography began on January 1, 2005 and completed on 28 February 2005 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Bellarmine-Jefferson High School was used to portray the high school seen in the film while Signal Hill was used to portray the carnival shown in the film. Running Springs was used as the filming location for the road sequences. The house that was used in the film is located in Culver Studios - 9336 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City.



When a Stranger Calls: The Complete Original Motion Picture Score
When a Stranger Calls (2006) - Score.jpg
Film score
Released February 10, 2006
Genre Film score
Length 47:53
Label Sony BMG Music Entertainment
Producer James Dooley

When a Stranger Calls: The Complete Original Motion Picture Score, 15-instrumental songs composed by James Dooley, was released on February 10, 2006.

When a Stranger Calls: The Complete Original Motion Picture Score
1."Main Title"00:04:51
2."Fateful Drive"00:02:57
3."The House"00:03:43
5."Have You Checked the Children"00:05:11
7."Knock Knock Who There"00:07:18
8."Curtain Call"00:03:14
9."60 Seconds"00:03:39
10."Inside the House"00:04:12
13."Police Station"00:02:44
14."Lunatic Asylum"00:03:58
15."End Credits"00:02:42
Total length:01:00:35


For the release of the film, AOL Instant Messenger ran ads beckoning users to IM Jill020306. When messaged, "Jill" (a Colloquis-style program) made small talk before panicking, as she received calls from a stranger asking her to check the children. She then gives the user her phone number (a toll-free 877 number) and asks them to call her. When users call, they hear an ad for the movie. Also, around the time of the DVD release, a new screen name appeared, Jill051606, to tie in with the DVD release date on May 16, 2006. It does not involve calling her, but instead she directs users to a video security system on the official DVD site where the shadow of the stranger passes by frequently.

MySpace ran an advertisement: the profile for Jill051606, in which users can add the profile as a friend, leave comments, and read Jill's blog.

Home media[edit]

The movie was released on May 16, 2006 on DVD. Special features include two audio commentaries (one with Camilla Belle and Simon West; the other with Jake Wade Wall), deleted scenes, a 20-minute making-of featurette, and trailers. A Blu-ray version of the film was released for the first time by Mill Creek Entertainment on October 4, 2016 in a triple feature with I Know What You Did Last Summer and Vacancy.


Box office[edit]

The film opened at No. 1 with $21,607,203.[5] As of March 19, 2006, the film grossed a total of $47.9 million in the domestic box office, and $19,106,773 internationally for a total worldwide gross of $66,966,987 million.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 9%, based on 92 reviews. The site's consensus reads "When a Stranger Calls ranks among the more misguided remakes in horror history, offering little more than a rote, largely fright-free update to the original."[7]


In 2006, it was nominated to the Golden Trailer Awards in the category "Best Thriller".[8]

Cancelled sequel[edit]

Screen Gems had green-lit a sequel, rumored to be titled When a Stranger Returns, in which Hayden Panettiere was to play the babysitter. Screen Gems has since scrapped the film.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]