When a Stranger Calls
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A terrified young baby-sitter...an incessantly ringing phone...and whispered threats set the stage for one of the most suspenseful chillers ever filmed. Carol Kane stars as the baby-sitter who is tormented by a series of ominous phone calls until a compulsive cop (Charles Durning) is brought on thescene to apprehend the psychotic killer. Seven years later, however, the nightmare begins again when the madman returns to mercilessly haunt Kane, now a wife and mother. No longer a naive girl, though still terrified, but prepared, she moves boldly to thwart the maniac's attack in scenes that culminate in a nerve-shattering conclusion.
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1.) it could actually happen and,
2.) it is based on suspense. No blood, no gore, just sheer terrifying suspense.
The two above elements IMO, make anything 100x scarier.
I won't go on and on (as others have) - and I won't be a b!**h and tell you the plot and the ending (like others here do), just trust me and promise to watch it WITH someone else, AND don't show it to an impressionable preteen or you will NEVER get her to babysit....not for ANY amount of $ 😄😳
Jill Johnson(CAROL KANE) is the baby sitter for the Mondracas family. The two children are already in bed and the Dr. and Mrs. Mondracas leave for a night out. Jill gets intermittent phone calls when the eerie voice saying..."have you checked the children?" As Jill studies the phone calls continue. As she becomes more scared Jill calls the police..... a trace is made by the local police and later finds the call are coming from inside the house.....*spoiler* ......of course the police arrive as Jill races out the door and the Killer /Curt Duncan is drug away and found he killed the children in cold blood. 7 years later after being found insane he is able to escape the state asylum. Then ex policeman Charles Durning is hired to track him down and "finish him off". Duncan tries to pick up Tracy (excellent Coleen Dewhurst) in a bar and Durning is able to use Tracy as bait to get closer to Duncan. Until a photo in a paper again leads Duncan to Jill now married with children of her own. This is excellent from the first completely scary 30 minutes of terror....to the tracking down of Duncan to the superb ending of the plot. this holds up over time co written and directed by the great Fred Walton. At times the gloom of night is not only scary but visually stunning and ass to the great visual scares of the movie.
However, this film is well worth watching for the first act alone. Carol Kane is able to shed the bubbleheaded weirdo image she was typecast into after Taxi and portray a three-dimensional character who is rightfully terrified of her psychopathic caller. The director, using ever decreasing lighting, evokes an increasing level of terror from the audience, leading up to one of the most jolting revelations in horror/suspense film history. The third act is very well done as well with one last shock that will scare the hell out of you. However, it is the film's first act that sets it apart and which makes it well worth seeing, even taking into account the very flawed second act. One thing is for sure -- for the rest of your life, you will never be able to hear this phrase without feeling a chill up your spine:
"Have you checked the children?"
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