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6 Degrees Entertainment

'REMAKE REWIND - When A Stranger Calls'
(Charles Durning, Carol Kane, Camilla Belle, Brian Geraghty, et al / DVD / PG13+R / 2015 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Two suspense-filled films based upon the popular urban legend of a frightened babysitter and the menacing telephone calls she receives while watching two sleeping children. This story has terrified people for years and was successfully brought to the big screen in 1979. A remake of this classic horror story was done in 2006 with a few modern changes, but not to the core elements of the story. Sit back and watch these thrillers, but don't let that ringing phone distract you!

DVD Verdict: The 1979 original is, well, if you like to watch horror films to challenge your comfort zone and get some real chills running down your spine just the perfect flick for you! 'When A Stranger Calls' builds its tension quite well, partly by using well chosen and well placed music to increase the creepiness. Rather than resorting to needlessly overdone gore; This film relies mostly on the old tried and tested power of suggestion to mount most of its suspense and scare factor. A much more effective method in my view, and there is strong evidence of this here. Also, Carol Kane and Charles Durning are good in the roles of the terrified babysitter and the private detective searching for the killer when he's on the loose.

In the money-invested, built for shock value jumps-n-starts remake (2006), Camilla Belle is alone for the most part. She's a good-looking girl and acts pretty well. This isn't really a horror film, it's just about making you scared and it does that well for much of the time but at times it can be frustrating. It's constantly building up tension but to be honest, will little action and that's where it can get slightly boring. The house is also a character in and of itself. Glass houses tend to be creepy to me in general but since this home is in the middle of nowhere and is grand in stature, it tends to be even more frightening. The production designer should be proud of this creation because it's truly something. That said, the final 20 minutes are noteworthy. After all the build up we're rewarded with a nice game of cat and mouse between the Stranger and Jill. It helps that we see very little of him since he's mostly shown in shadow, thus making him truly more creepy. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.