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when-a-stranger-calls-20060126054923090-000-000When A Stranger Calls, the remake of the 1979 cult hit starring Carole Kane, has all the usual slasher movie ingredients: a remote location, good looking teens, a nubile starlet in the lead and a relentless killer. Unfortunately it also has wooden acting, leaden pacing and a ridiculously long wait before there is any action.

Camilla Belle, who was very good in a little film called The Ballad of Jack and Rose a couple of years ago plays the teen in peril. She is babysitting two young kids in a beautiful, yet remote home that looks like the architect was inspired by MC Escher’s paintings of never-ending stairways. Soon after she arrives the obscene phone calls start and for the next hour we are treated to her answering the phone, looking scared and yelling, “Is there anybody there?”

When it is discovered that the phone calls are coming from within the house—that’s not a spoiler, it’s in the ad—the action picks up, but only slightly. The last few minutes of the movie are suitably nerve jangling, but hardly worth the effort to make it through the general tedium of the first hour and the everyday-objects-filmed-in- a-sinister-way red herrings.

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