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When a Stranger Calls

Theatrical Release Poster
Directed by Simon West
Produced by John Davis
Wyck Godfrey
Ken Lemberger
Written by Jake Wade Wall
Starring Camilla Belle
Thomas Flanagan
Katie Cassidy
Lance Henriksen
Music by James Dooley
Cinematography Peter Menzies Jr.
Editing by Jeff Betancourt
Distributed by Screen Gems
Release date(s) February 3, 2006
Running time 87 min.
Language English
Budget $15 million
Gross revenue $66.9 million

When a Stranger Calls is a 2006 remake of the 1979 horror film of the same name. In the film, baby-sitter Jill Johnson (Camilla Belle) receives increasingly threatening calls from a brutal serial killer who she first assumes is simply a juvenile prankster.



When Jill Johnson goes over her phone limits her father makes her repay it by babysitting. Jill starts getting anonymous phone calls. At first she assumes it's a practical joke.

Her friend Tiffany comes to visit her and says that the garage door was open. Nervous, she rushed down to shut it. When Tiffany leaves the house, she has trouble starting the car but starts it after several times of trying. Tiffany notices that the gates are stuck from a couple of branches, she goes to move them when an unseen figure approaches her from behind. Meanwhile Jill hears banging at the door but when she when goes to answer it no one is there.

The Caller calls again, nervous she calls the police and they tell her to call again if he rings again. After a while the man calls again and asks if she's checked the children. Jill goes upstairs to find the children sleeping. When she comes back downstairs he calls again and realizes that he's watching her. Frightened Jill rings the police again but ensures that she's safe inside the house and they'll trace the call if she can keep him on the line for at least a minute.

Jill sees a light on in the guest house and runs over to investigate but no one is home. The person calls again but she notices he called the wrong line and sees a light on in the children's room. She rushed back to the house and gets a call from her ex-boyfriend Bobby. Jill asks him if he's been calling but he denies it and says that his friend Cobey pranked her but the line drops when Bobby asks him if he called her more than once.

The man calls again, Jill asks him what he wants and he replies: "Your blood all over me." The police call and warn her that the call's coming from inside the house. Tiffany's phone rings but when Jill turns around she sees that her friend is dead. The killer chases her through the house and attacks her. Jill fends for her life and the kids and eventually the killer is caught.

Afterwards Jill wakes up in hospital alone and the phone rings when she walks back into her room she sees the killer in the mirror and grabs her. Jill screams for help, while the audience find out that she was dreaming and has developed psychological problems from the encounter.



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. Like many automated messaging agents, "Jill" is easily confused, which resulted in some unintentionally humorous moments —

Jill:HELLO. Sometimes other glitches occur, such as Jill asking what she should do before telling the user that a stranger is calling her.

Also, around the time of the DVD release, a new screen name appeared, Jill051606, to tie in with the DVD release date, May 16, 2006. It does not involve calling her, but instead she directs you to a video security system on the official DVD site where the shadow of the stranger passes by frequently. also ran an advertisement: the profile for Jill051606, in which users can add the profile as a friend, leave comments, read the blog.


Critical consensus were negative, with the average grade on Yahoo! Movies being a "D", despite the film's 21.6 million dollar opening setting the record for a movie opening on Super Bowl XL weekend.[1] On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 9% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 84 reviews, with the consensus that the film is "a suspenseful movie with good acting but is too fright-free for a remake".[2] The biggest criticism of the remake was that it gave away the moment of suspense from the original by revealing the source of the calls in the previews, and also the fact that the film just wasn't scary. The problem arguably results from the fact that the remake amputated over half the original plot.

As of January 10, 2008, the film grossed a total of 47.9 million dollars in the domestic box office, and 66.9 million dollars worldwide.[3]

The movie was released on May 16, 2006 for PSP and DVD. Special features include two commentaries (one with Camilla Belle and Simon West; the other with Jake Wade Wall), deleted scenes, a 20-minute making-of featurette, and trailers.

Possible Sequel

After the release of When A Stranger Calls, there were rumors that a sequel, titled When A Stranger Returns, was to happen, but nothing has been confirmed nor denied. When A Stranger Returns, is said to be different then the sequel to the 1979 film "When A Stranger Calls Back," which was released in 1993. It is said that Jill will return to help reveal the real killer. However, it has not been confirmed nor denied from Camilla Belle or any of the original cast members.


The film grossed a total of 66.9 million dollars worldwide. In its first week, it grossed 24.8 million dollars.[4]

Alternate titles worldwide:

  • Germany: Unbekannter Anrufer (Unknown Caller)
  • Mexico/Colombia/Venezuela/Ecuador: Cuando Un Extraño Llama (When a Stranger Calls)
  • Spain: Cuando Llama Un Extraño (When a Stranger Calls)
  • France: Terreur Sur La Ligne (Terror On the Line)
  • Finnish: Kun Tuntematon Soittaa
  • Italy: Chiamata Da Uno Sconosciuto (Call From Unknown)
  • Portugal: Chamada De Um Estranho (Call of a Stranger)
  • Brazil: Quando Um Estranho Chama (When a Stranger Calls)
  • Serbia: Kad stranac pozove
  • Poland: Kiedy dzwoni nieznajomy
  • Vietnam: Khi người lạ gọi điện/Cuộc gọi lúc nửa đêm (When A Stranger Calls/The Call In The Middle Of The Night)
  • Israel: כשזר מתקשר/KsheZar Mitkasher
  • Hungary: Ismeretlen hívás (Unknown Call)
  • Romania: Apel misterios
  • Greece: Κραυγές Αγωνίας (Screams of Distress)


In 2006, it was Nominated to the Golden Trailer Awards in the category "Best Thriller"

See Also

The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs


External links

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