When a Stranger Calls (2006 film)

When a Stranger Calls is a 2006 American horror film directed by Simon West and written by Jake Wade Wall. The film stars Camilla Belle, Brian Geraghty, Katie Cassidy, and Clark Gregg. Belle plays a babysitter who starts to receive threatening phone calls from an unidentified stranger, played by both Tommy Flanagan and Lance Henriksen. The film is a remake of Fred Walton's 1979 horror film of the same name, which became a cult classic for its legendary opening 20 minutes, which this remake extends to a feature-length film.

When a Stranger Calls
When A Stranger Calls.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySimon West
Produced byJohn Davis
Wyck Godfrey
Ken Lemberger
Written byJake Wade Wall
Based onWhen a Stranger Calls
by Steve Feke and Fred Walton
Music byJames Dooley
CinematographyPeter Menzies Jr.
Edited byJeff Betancourt
Davis Entertainment
Screen Gems
Distributed byScreen Gems
Release date
  • February 3, 2006 (2006-02-03)
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$15 million[1]
Box office$66.9 million[1]

The film was theatrically released on February 3, 2006, and was universally panned by critics upon release. It grossed over $66.9 million worldwide on a $15 million budget.


To pay off going over her cellphone minutes, Jill Johnson (Camilla Belle) has agreed to babysit for a wealthy family. When she arrives at the house, the parents (Derek de Lint and Kate Jennings Grant) show her around and tell her about their live-in housemaid, Rosa. Mrs. Mandrakis states that they won't be back until midnight.

While the two children are asleep upstairs, Jill soon begins to receive anonymous phone calls from a stranger who, most of the time, doesn't say anything and then hangs up. She initially believes it is her friends playing a prank but when she calls them, they deny it. Jill's friend Tiffany (Katie Cassidy) stops by but Jill, in fear of getting into further trouble, asks her to leave. Outside while getting back in her car, Tiffany is ambushed (off-screen).

Meanwhile, other strange events begin to occur, such as the house alarm going off for no reason and knocking at the door with no one there. The caller rings and asks Jill, "Have you checked the children?". After she does, he calls again and asks, "How were the children?", indicating he can see her. Alarmed, she calls the police, who tell her they can trace the calls if she is able to keep him on the line for sixty seconds. While waiting for the phone to ring, Jill sees a shadow moving in the guesthouse. Believing it is the Mandrakis' son back from college, she goes to investigate but finds the guesthouse empty.

Back at the main house, Jill searches for Rosa but finds only her belongings. The phone rings once again and the caller remains quiet on the other end as Jill manages to keep him on the line for a minute so the call can be traced. Jill then hears the shower running in the maid's room but, upon checking, the bathroom is empty. The police then tell her the calls are coming from inside the house. Horrified, Jill finds Tiffany dead on the bathroom floor and flees.

Jill goes to the children who are already hiding in their playroom. She looks up and sees the intruder in the loft. They all escape into the greenhouse and hide. Jill discovers Rosa's dead body under the water. The stranger enters and searches the greenhouse. Jill manages to lock him inside but he breaks out and attacks her. During the altercation, Jill manages to stab the assailant’s hand into the hardwood floor with a fireplace poker, before rushing out of the house into the arms of a police officer. The assailant is arrested and Jill and the children survive.

Days later while recuperating in the hospital, Jill awakens to a phone ringing. She gets out of bed and, while looking at her reflection in the mirror, the attacker appears behind her and grabs her. She begins to shriek hysterically, waking from her hallucination, yelling "He's in the house!". The film ends with the doctors and her dad desperately trying to stop her frantic panicking.



Screen Gems first announced production of When a Stranger Calls in August 2004, with Jake Wade Wall penning the script. Screen Gems had plans to release both a remake of the original film and a sequel titled When a Stranger Returns.[2][3]


Evan Rachel Wood was offered the role of Jill, but turned it down. Camilla Belle was then approached and almost turned the role down due to her personal dislike for horror films but West, the director, convinced her that he was going more for a psychological thriller and so she accepted. To prepare for the role, Belle had to do two months of weight-training and learning how to run. Belle was injured twice on the set, she struck a wooden bridge cutting and scarring her hand and also slammed her head against a glass window.[citation needed]


Principal photography began on January 1, 2005 and completed on February 28, 2005 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Bellarmine-Jefferson High School was used to portray the high school seen in the film while Signal Hill was used to portray the carnival shown in the film. Running Springs was used as the filming location for the road sequences. The house that was used in the film is located in Culver Studios - 9336 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City.



When a Stranger Calls: The Complete Original Motion Picture Score
Film score
ReleasedFebruary 10, 2006
GenreFilm score
LabelSony BMG Music Entertainment
ProducerJames Dooley

When a Stranger Calls: The Complete Original Motion Picture Score, 15-instrumental songs composed by James Dooley, was released on February 10, 2006.

When a Stranger Calls: The Complete Original Motion Picture Score
1."Main Title"00:04:51
2."Fateful Drive"00:02:57
3."The House"00:03:43
5."Have You Checked the Children"00:05:11
7."Knock Knock Who There"00:07:18
8."Curtain Call"00:03:14
9."60 Seconds"00:03:39
10."Inside the House"00:04:12
13."Police Station"00:02:44
14."Lunatic Asylum"00:03:58
15."End Credits"00:02:42
Total length:01:00:35


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. Also, around the time of the DVD release, a new screen name appeared, Jill051606, to tie in with the DVD release date on May 16, 2006. It does not involve calling her, but instead she directs users to a video security system on the official DVD site where the shadow of the stranger passes by frequently.

MySpace ran an advertisement: the profile for Jill051606, in which users can add the profile as a friend, leave comments, and read Jill's blog.

Home mediaEdit

The movie was released on May 16, 2006 on DVD. Special features include two audio commentaries (one with Camilla Belle and Simon West; the other with Jake Wade Wall), deleted scenes, a 20-minute making-of featurette, and trailers. A Blu-ray version of the film was released for the first time by Mill Creek Entertainment on October 4, 2016 in a triple feature with I Know What You Did Last Summer and Vacancy.


Box officeEdit

The film opened at No. 1 with $21,607,203.[4] As of March 19, 2006, the film grossed a total of $47.9 million in the domestic box office, and $19,106,773 internationally for a total worldwide gross of $66,966,987 million.[1]

Critical receptionEdit

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 9%[5], based on 93 reviews. The site's consensus reads "When a Stranger Calls ranks among the more misguided remakes in horror history, offering little more than a rote, largely fright-free update to the original."[5]


In 2006, When a Stranger Calls was nominated to the Golden Trailer Awards in the category "Best Thriller".[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "When a Stranger Calls (2006)". Box Office Mojo.
  2. ^ LaPorte, Nicole (August 10, 2004). "'Stranger' redials". Variety. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
  3. ^ Balchack, Brian. "Screen Gems plans remakes of When a Stranger Calls and it' sequel When a Stranger Returns". MovieWeb. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
  4. ^ "Domestic 2006 Weekend 5". Box Office Mojo. February 3–5, 2006.
  5. ^ a b "When a Stranger Calls". Rotten Tomatoes.
  6. ^ "Best Thriller (GTA7/2006) | Nominees Categories | Golden Trailer Awards". www.goldentrailer.com. Retrieved February 2, 2018.

External linksEdit