MovieChat Forums > When a Stranger CallsĀ (1979) Discussion > What would you have done differently?

What would you have done differently?


I've noticed a lot of people share the same view in regards to this film which is - stop watching after the first 20 minutes. What do you guys think could/should have been done differently to keep the movie interesting after the amazing beginning of this film? Would you have changed the entire portion of the story after the first 20 minutes, or just a few parts here and there?

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nothing

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I must say that the beginning of this film was as awful as its remainder. Let's briefly examine what so many people say is one of the 'scariest' moments in horror movie history.

A babysitter gets some creepy prank phone calls (has a logical overreaction), calls the police who say they'll trace the longer calls, then talks to the caller again who conveniently talks longer then ever before. Finally, she speaks again to the policeman who fearfully tells her to immediately leave the house because the call is coming from another line within the house.

Who reacts like that to prank phone calls? Why would the policeman not assume that the call came from one of the children that she was sitting or some other relation of the household, but rather from some maniac... which was the impression I got from his tone when he informed her to immediately get out of the house. This thoughtless conveyance is the hallmark of bad writing. It is a false, baseless tension which I can not relate to. It is not genuine.

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Well the caller kept asking her to check the children then finally asked why havent you checked the children? Plus when she asks what he wants then he replies, Your blood all over me!!! Personally, id be pretty creeped out by that myself. I highly doubt the children would do or say anything like that.

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I don't know if Jill mentions it to the police, but the children were four and a half and three. I don't think she'd ever consider them as the source of the mysterious calls even if the police suggested it. It was definitely the voice of a grown man on the phone and not a four year old boy.

"Who reacts like that to prank phone calls?" ME!! I would if I was a teen-age babysitter alone with two children. Actually after I called the cops, I'd call my dad and yell, "GET OVER HERE!".
If a caller asked me if I "checked the children" then I'd assume that he knew enough to KNOW there were children in the house! If it was a random prank call and he asked that of an elderly couple, then they'd know it was a prank. This caller was quite specific.

It created enough genuine tension in me.

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I first heard the story way before the movie as a kid. The caller seemed like a regular misdialed call in his first call and he apologized for bothering her. Then he called back again in order to talk with the babysitter. This call wasn't threatening either, but it was more a guy who is a stranger talking to a younger girl who sounded nice. Maybe she was interested in his masculine voice and they chatted for a while, i.e. flirted. What became weird was the third call and he started to have a creepy, ominous tone as somehow he knew she was babysitting. She never told him that. Next call he knew more like the couples' name and some description of the house. Then he starts saying, "It's going to rain blood tonight; have you looked out the window?" And the overall tone was scary, so she hung up and called the police. It follows the movie and she's trying to keep him on the line, but after scaring her some more like telling her what room she's in and that it's a two-story house, he continues, "It's going to rain blood tonight, it's going to rain blood tonight, it's going to rain blood tonight." He goes on and on like that after saying more threatening things, so she ends up hanging up the phone due to fright. Then the phone rings again and she is scared out of her wits, but she picks it up and it's the policeman she talked with and he tells her that the call is coming from an upstairs number and to get out of the house. Sure, it scared the bleep out of us until someone else started another story about Mrs. Murphy and her ghost.

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