When a Stranger Calls (1979)

When a Stranger Calls (1979)

Directed by: Fred Walton

Starring: Carol Kane, Charles Durning, Rutanya Alda

This movie is semi-well known for the line “The calls are coming from inside the house!” I say semi-well known because most people just know the line and not what movie it came from (also it’s probably not technically FROM this movie, but is a campfire horror story adapted into this film). There’s a good reason, though: the rest of this movie is pretty lame.

A babysitter keeps getting calls that she should check on the kids, and it creeps her out enough that she calls the cops about it. They trace the call and find that it’s coming from upstairs, where a crazy guy has murdered both the kids while the babysitter was downstairs. Ten years later, the crazy guy escapes from the loony bin and the cop who put him away has to try to recapture him before something similar happens again.

This movie basically has two good parts, the opening and the end, but they had to pad it out with an hour of unrelated stuff in the middle that not only doesn’t add to the good parts, but actively tears down any suspense or sense of fear one might get from the bad guy. It’s not really even worth watching for the good parts, unless you’ve just never seen it before and want to know how that phrase got popular.

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