Monday, February 20, 2012

When a Stranger Calls Back (1993)

This movie has been creeping into my mind lately, and with the holiday off of work, I was able to get ahold of it.  When my sister and I were younger, this movie was a great source of fear for us.  We taped it off of television, and watched it over and over.  When a Stranger Calls Back is the sequel to When a Stranger Calls, starring Carol Kane.  Kane returns for this movie as a grown version of the teenager stalked in the original movie.

In this sequel, Julia (Jill Schoelen) is babysitting for two children who are already asleep.  She does the regular babysitter thing, watching MTV and doing homework, until she hears a knock at the door.  A man states that his car is disabled, and requests to be let in to use the phone.  Julia refuses, but offers to call the Auto Club for him.  It's then that she learns the phone is out, but doesn't wish for the man outside to realize that.  She says she called, and the man goes on his way.  However, he returns some time later to say that they never arrived, and requests that she call again.  Still not wanting him to know that she's stranded without phone service, she fakes the call.  He returns once again to tell her that he sees someone creeping about the house.  She checks on the children and realizes they're gone.  She tries to escape the house, only to find that the creeper is in the living room.  She escapes just in time and the children are never found.

Fast forward to five years later, where Julia is going to school and living in an off-campus apartment.  She keeps her apartment OCD-level organized, and is frightened to realize that small changes have been made over the last few months.  She reaches a breaking point when she finds a child's sweater hanging in her closet.  She runs to the police, who involves women's advocate, Jill (Carol Kane).  Having experienced similar trauma, she takes Julia under her wing, and brings in John Clifford (Charles Durning) to help investigate.

Let's pause a moment to admire the amazeballs hair in this movie:

The killer/stalker/whatever in this movie is one of the most bizarre that I've ever seen.  Being a weirdo ventriloquist, slapping someone in a coma repeatedly, painting yourself like a brick wall?  There are some seriously creepy moments in this movie.  Just little touches like the kid's shirt hanging in the closet, the faceless dummy, and the milk carton, that just give you the shivers.

I am a huge When a Stranger Calls fan, but this sequel keeps the action going more steadily than it's predecessor.  Although the general style is so early-90s lame, the acting is pretty on point.  I remember how much I loved this movie when I was younger, and I'm happy to say I still liked it nearly two decades later.  Rock on, Carol Kane.


Maynard Morrissey said...

agree, it's pretty mediocre, though the opening scene is absolutely awesome.

Hey! Look Behind You! said...

The brick wall scene freaked the fuck out of me!!!!