Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 20
  2. Negative: 11 out of 20
  1. Designed to capitalize on the title and premise of the original but offers little to those who fondly remember it.
  2. After an hour of red herrings, in which Jill investigates creepy corridors or opens rattling closet doors with no results, the only real danger is that we'll become bored to death. For real thrills, rent the original, turn down the lights and scare yourself silly.
  3. 50
    The movie ends with a bizarre and unsatisfying denouement. The epilogue, which is designed either to set up a sequel or lampoon "Halloween 2," plays like a sour last note. I suppose someone thought it was clever, but it doesn't work.
  4. Reviewed by: Channing Joseph
    Ironically, for all of Stranger's faults, director Simon West has probably made a perfect date movie: just suspenseful enough to keep you arm-in-arm with your beau or belle; but silly enough that you'll both laugh about it afterwards.
  5. Jake Wade Wall's screenplay does deserve a word of praise. It has managed to incorporate the advent of cellphones, the *69 command and caller ID, which could have easily made the entire story impossible.
  6. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    A modestly clever concept gets indifferent execution in When a Stranger Calls, another bigger-yet-blander remake of an allegedly "classic" '70s shocker.
  7. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Loud, noisy, flashy but too rarely chilling.
  8. Reviewed by: Matt Singer
    This version is a thin, protracted study in shifting Hollywood strategies. The original, while dramatically spotty, was an almost experimental concoction of horror and thriller. The 2006 model, in contrast, is straight-up formula.
  9. 40
    When a Stranger Calls never manages to convey the primal, almost atavistic terror that has earned John Carpenter's movies and the "Scream" franchise their places in the teen horror canon. The most lasting psychological effect of this pulp non-classic will most likely be limited to a deep pathological fear of Architectural Digest.
  10. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Rather than remake the entire original movie, Simon West and screenwriter Jake Wade Wall have taken only that now-classic first act and padded it out into a dull, filler-filled feature that's remarkably void of any new ideas.
  11. Reviewed by: Tim Grierson
    Amounts to an assault of jarring music cues and peek-a-boo scares that starts off mechanical and ends up utterly desperate.
  12. 30
    This remake takes an alternate tack from the original feature, expanding the story of "The Sitter" to a full 83 minutes, but the result is dull and painfully generic.
  13. 25
    Ineptly directed by Simon West, the scare-free When a Stranger Calls is the worst of the seminal horror movies from the late '70s and early '80s that have been getting the remake treatment lately.
  14. Even the element of surprise isn't enough to save this film, which has too many slow parts and features an ending that's extremely tepid by 21st century horror movie standards.
  15. When a Stranger Calls is ba-a-a-a-c-k, in frightless form, updated for the age of anytime minutes and caller ID.
  16. 25
    The original should have been a short film; the new version shouldn't exist at all.
  17. 12
    Even by the lowest standards, this is a frightless, cynically made movie.
  18. 10
    It's an inferior remake (of a movie that wasn't that great to begin with), it's poorly acted, and it's yet another in an unending string of PG-13 "horror" movies that do nothing to build even the most rudimentary sense of real dread.
  19. 0
    Long distance information? Get me Hollywood, USA: I’ve got a rusty ice pick to bury in the gullet of whoever greenlighted this pointless exercise in masturbatory tedium.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 104 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 46
  2. Negative: 20 out of 46
  1. May 29, 2011
    This movie was a great movie and was far better than the original. In this movie they stretched out the opening scene of the original. There are more characters which makes it more interesting. This movie has more chase scenes in it, unlike the original which basically had one. The set is also a lot more likable. Jill's acting in this one isn't superb, but it's pretty good, and also it seems like she actually cares about the children in this one. The stranger's voice isn't half as scary as the original which is the only downfall. But, you don't see the stranger's face until the end, so it makes him even more scary. Over all I recommend this movie and would give it a solid C. Full Review »
  2. Jan 26, 2014
    Nothing was spoiled for me as I never watched any of the trailers (I was only 10 at the time of release) so I didn't have anything spoiled for me, which when nothing is spoiled, When a Stranger Calls is actually fairly enjoyable with a couple of good scares. However it still has many plot holes, lack of good judgement and just common sense as does many horror films. Full Review »
  3. Aug 4, 2013
    The movie just goes around in circles with nothing actually taking place that might be considered scary. The only thing that kept it interesting was hoping it was going to come to some big climax...but even that scene was pathetic. Full Review »