Wednesday, October 7, 2009

When a Stranger Calls (1979) (movie #19)

This is the original movie upon which the 2006 thriller was based, and since I'd never seen it before, I was excited to get a chance. Let me say that even though this movie is kind of dated, it is still creepy and effective today, which is hard to accomplish. I dare you not to cringe when the babysitter asks the killer "What do you want?" and he replies "Your blood...all over me" with such joy that it sent chills down my spine. Some things are always going to be scary,and I'm glad that translates even today, because I was worried that the movie would bore me. Not so.

The opening twenty minutes are what most people talk about when they mention this movie. Here is where we meet the babysitter, see her being taunted and tormented by a man making threatening phone calls, and watch hers lowly fall apart as the night progresses only to get a gruesome surprise. Then the movie flashes forward seven years, and a lot of nothing happens for awhile. We learn that the killer from the beginning of the movie has escaped, and the detective assigned to his case is now a private detective who is determined to catch the guy and kill him. We finally get to met the killer, and he's creepy in that he seems like a normal guy (he could be anyone...he could be sitting next to you right now...) The babysitter from the opening sequence is now grown up and married with two kids of her own,and she is understandably upset that the killer has escaped. things go from there.

I have a few problems with this movie. For one, if I were babysitting and some guy kept calling and saying "have you checked the children?" I would CHECK THE CHILDREN at least once. This babysitter never does. Yes, I know that she would likely have been killed if she'd checked the children when he asked, but I don't care, I still think it's unrealistic that she never did. It pulls me out of the story. Other than that, and aside from a meandering pace that got a little boring for awhile, I really enjoyed this movie.

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