Credit: When a Stranger Calls: Suzanne Tenner

It began, in 1979, as a Terrorized Teen flick, with Carol Kane as the freaked-out babysitter at the wrong end of a telephone call. It continued, parodied, in 1996, with Scream. And now When a Stranger Calls is ba-a-a-a-c-k, in frightless form, updated for the age of anytime minutes and caller ID. Pulpy director Simon West appears much more excited about the Zen-ish architecture of the house in which Jill Johnson (Camilla Belle) is babysitting two sleeping lumps than about creating a useful sense of anxiety; perhaps he figures everyone has seen Scream anyhow. 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.

When a Stranger Calls
  • Movie
  • 100 minutes