I'll have to admit that despite having seen this film I have yet to see the original film that this is a remake of. As such, I'll only be reviewing this film simply based on what I saw on screen and not in comparison to the original film.
When a Stranger Calls has an intriguing premise about a teenager who is babysitting some kids and a killer stalks her and taunts her on the telephone. With a premise like this, you think the filmmakers would actually do something awesome with this, but sadly they don't.
Jill Johnson (played by Camilla Belle) is to film's credit a likable enough character that we can root for her. She's not acted particularly well, but to be fair she's not awful either. It's just a generic performance. But what do you expect when the scipt doesn't give you much of anything to do except walk down long stretches of dark hallways and react to a jump scare every 4 minutes.
And that's the film's main problem. Nothing happens. The film is mostly just build up to a fight with the bad guy. And I wouldn't mind that so much if, the buildup was interesting or if the final fight was gratifying. Some scenes in the beginning are somewhat entertaining, but others are just dull. The buildup is consisted of old jump scares that we've seen in dozens of other horror films. I personally can't say that I didn't find the final fight entertaining, but if you're going to have most of the movie do buildup, you better do the final fight right. Make it longer, make it more gratifying. As is the fight is entertaining, but it definately could've been improved and thus is a letdown.
If the film was to be improved, they should've had a more definative relationship between the killer and Jill. Have them play cat and mouse, maybe have us see what the killer is doing. Instead we get tired horror cliches to a disappointing climax. The ending is also very unsatisfying on every conceivable level. I won't spoil it, but I could think of dozens of endings that would've been better than the one they picked.
The film isn't necessarily awful, it just seems unnecessary. If they were going to remake the film, they should've done something special. To be fair, the film could've been worse, but it could've been a heck of a lot better too.