Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – When a Stranger Calls (2006)

Director: Simon West

Writer: Jake Wade Wall (Screenplay) Steve Feke, Fred Walton (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Camilla Belle, Tommy Flanagan, Katie Cassidy, Tessa Thmpson, Brian Geraghty, Cark Gregg


Plot: During a babysitting gig, a high-school student is harassed by an increasingly threatening prank caller.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Remake Failure


Story: When a Stranger Calls starts when High School student Jill (Belle) is being punished for going over her minutes on her phone bill must take a babysitting job in a house in the middle of nowhere. Jill is currently going through a break up with her boyfriend Bobby (Geraghty) and questioning her own friends Tiffany (Cassidy) and Scarlett (Thompson) on their part in it.

After a strange phone call, noises around the home and the alarm going off Jill starts to believe something is going on in the house, is she alone with the kids anymore?


Thoughts on When a Stranger Calls


Characters/PerformanceJill is the naughty high school student that has gone over her cell phone calls limit and must pay for it by babysitting, while also dealing with her boyfriend and best friend cheating on her. She doesn’t know how to make a good decision when a stranger starts calling her during the night of babysitting. The Stranger calling is interesting because we know he is capable of murder from the opening sequences, but now we learn to how calculated he is when picking his prey. Most of his damage is only explained and shown through facial expressions of the police investigating his crimes. Tiffany and Scarlett are just plain friends on the generic scale that we are used too.

Performance wise, Camille Belle has to do most of the work in this film and she does struggle in a role that has created countless amazing female leads, the rest of the cast are fine but don’t get enough time to shine.

StoryThis is a remake so we know the basics of how this film goes because it follows a babysitter needing to figure out who a mystery call is only to learn the truth and need to fight to survive. We have a couple of addition to the idea here because we need to explain the cell phone situation through the film but otherwise the film is filled with too many false scares that don’t lead to much.

HorrorThe horror is just false jump scare after false jump scare which never comes to much, we have one sequence but otherwise it is mostly about how things could happen.

SettingsThe house is isolated which is the highlight of the film because we know how this character isn’t going to be able to have much help and the stranger can take his time stalking his victim.

Special EffectsThe effects are limited and are mostly used for use of lighting and a few stunts, which I think does work because we don’t need anything flashy.

Final ThoughtsThis is a remake that doesn’t use the potential and has already become outdated because of the technology that is used as the stumbling blocks.


Overall: Not all remakes work.




Original v Remake Weekend – The Hitcher (2007)

casting card


Plot: A serial killer pins his crimes on two college students who gave him a ride.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Bad Remake


Story: The Hitcher starts as we follow college sweethearts Grace (Bush) and Jim (Zachary) traveling cross country for vacation. The trip gets interrupted when they clash with John Ryder (Bean) a hitchhiker that enjoys killing people, luckily they escape him for a while only to find themselves being chased across the dessert like environment.

When the two start getting framed by John they find themselves on the run not only from him but from the State Police run by Lt Esteridge (McDonough) who believes they are involved with killing all of the police officers. The game of cat and mouse leads to final showdown between the four.

The Hitcher is a remake that isn’t able to do anything original with the idea. It feels like it wanted just to do a shot for shot remake but then tried to do a fresh spin that didn’t create anything. The fact the film is incredibly short doesn’t help because nothing gets built up enough to make us care. I don’t understand the remake happening when he has an interesting sequel a few years before.


Actor Review


Sean Bean: John Ryder is the Hitcher looking for a ride, but what he really wants is to go on a killing spree. When Grace and Jim refuse to stop to help him he takes everything personally and starts targeting them and he just won’t give up. Sean is one of the good things in this movie as you believe he will be this crazy throughout the film.

Sophia Bush: Grace is our leading lady of the college student couple that always needs a pee break, she has to wait for instructions and is written to be plain as stupid. Sophia tries her best with such a badly written character.

Zachary Knighton: Jim is the boyfriend of Grace that is preparing to meet her friends on their cross country journey. He wants to help John but doesn’t get involved because Grace says no, he then has to try and keep her safe through the experience against John. Zachary is ok but you will soon forget about his character.

Neal McDonough: LT Esteridge is the state police officers trying to bring everything to an end, he doesn’t believe Grace and Jim are involved but has to follow the evidence. Neal is a standard police officer authority figure you will forget too.

Support Cast: The Hitcher has only a disposable supporting cast with barely any of the ones you meet actually making it to the end of the film.

Director Review: Dave MeyersDave gives us a simple horror film that has one brilliant scene but otherwise is forgettable.


Crime: The Hitcher puts us in a crime battle between good and evil as the couple battle the hitchhiker.

Horror: The Hitcher has easy horror elements that just don’t get the point over because of lack of tension aiming for just a body count.

Settings: The Hitcher keeps most of the film set in the dessert showing how alone the couple are but they always seem to find somewhere to hide.
Special Effects
: The Hitcher has a mix of good and bad effects, with the CGI coming off terrible but the truck scene look great.

Suggestion: The Hitcher is one I think you could easily just watch the original. (Watched Original)


Best Part: Truck scene.

Worst Part: Grace is written so badly.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes


Overall: Poor remake that loses the horror elements needed.




Cabin Fever 3: Patient Zero (2014)

logoDirector: Kaare Andrews

Writer: Jake Wade Wall (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Astin, Currie Graham, Ryan Donowho, Brando Eaton, Jillian Murray, Mitch Ryan, Solly Duran, Lydia Hearst, Claudette Lali


Plot: A group of friends think they’re going to the perfect spot for a bachelor party; a secluded private island. They quickly learn the island is not as private as they thought. The island is home to a lab thought to be empty, but in actuality a deadly, extremely fast acting, flesh eating virus has just escaped containment. Now everyone on the island has to fight not only to survive the outbreak, but also to survive each other.


Verdict: Origin Of Cabin Fever Virus


Story: Being the third in the series we know all about what the virus does, and how it is spread. This take out the explanation levels need in the film. We focus on the usual group of young people have a fun weekend, the drinking, drugs and sex. On the more interesting side of the story we follow a doctor who has captured an immune patient and is trying to figure out a cure. This is the strong point of the film as we see how he gets tested against his will while not being aloud contact with the outside world. The two stories play out, side by side before coming together for the conclusion which as always is a form of twist ending. It comes off as a usual franchise film because it isn’t the same level as the original but gives a few more answers than the original. (6/10)


Actor Review


Sean Astin: Porter the immune patient who gets locked away while a doctor tries to find a cure, he doesn’t play along and tries to break out but spreading the virus onto other people. Good performance as a man captured against his will. (7/10)


Currie Graham: Dr Edwards the man trying to find a cure, but is he trying to find the cure to make himself the famous doctor who cured the virus which has taken so many lives. If you ever want to see a traditional doctor who is out for his own good this is what you call the standard for that. (5/10)

dr edwards

Ryan Donowho: Dobbs best friend of Marcus who ends up going looking around the island with Marcus looking for help after the virus starts to affect their friends. Typical friend performance who is there to be a disposable character. (5/10)


Brando Eaton: Josh Marcus’ brother who get infected by the virus and tries to find a help while the rest have gone their way, he wants to save his girlfriend. Another typical group performance designed to be disposable. (4/10)


Jillian Murray: Penny Josh’ girlfriend who is the first to get infected by the virus, she also has connection with everyone in the group. She goes through the most including a fight with another infected person that really tests the special effects. Good performance as the victim who suffers the most. (6/10)


Mitch Ryan: Marcus the bachelor who reluctantly agrees to go on the trip because he is growing out of the party ways. He ends up leading the group in their fight for survival. Good performance as the unlikely leader. (7/10)


Director Review: Kaare Andrews – Good direction to help the franchise continue, with some very good special effects scenes. (7/10)


Horror: The virus being flesh eating works to add plenty horror. (8/10)

Thriller: Doesn’t really have too much suspense, but I feel the film idea isn’t designed for suspense. (4/10)

Settings: Stuck on an Island in the middle of nowhere makes a great setting for a horror film and the quarantine idea. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Great special effects used to create the effects of the virus. (9/10)

Suggestion: This is one for all the horror fans, you should check out the whole franchise and this is a welcome addition. (Horror Fans Watch)


Best Part: The Nurse vs Penny great show of special effects.

Worst Part: The group is very genetic and boring characters.

Kill Of The Film: A guard tries to stop Dobbs.

Believability: This is a very real outcome of a virus potentially out breaking. (9/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Still open for more.

Post Credits Scene: Yes


Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes


Overall: Let The Virus Spread

Rating 59