July 20, 2011

When a Killer Calls (2006)

"A babysitter begins receiving threatening phone calls from a man who has just killed an entire family."

Obviously this was yet another one of The Asylum's straight-to-DVD ripoffs of a similarly named theatrical film but since I've already seen the real "When a Stranger Calls" (1979) and the 2006 remake, I saw no harm in watching it five years on. If I'd bought it instead of either of the real movies then I would have been absolutely mortified though.

The problem with all three of these movies is that, beyond the initial trope of a babysitter being menaced by a psychopathic serial murderer which dates right back to "Fright" (1971), the phone call angle soon gets irritating rather than menacing.

Also, because the original "When a Stranger Calls" had quite a good first 25 minutes and little else to recommend it, any subsequent feature length movie which copies the best parts from it as the main "gimmick" also ends up overlong and tedious.

"When a Killer Calls" runs out of steam fairly quickly in spite of adding a lot more gore than the the PG-13 rated "When a Stranger Calls" remake. The kills are quite good and brutal enough in themselves to satisfy most people but the mostly sub-par acting which surrounds them ruins their impact.

After an hour of torturously getting to know yet another bunch of unlikeable teenagers, "When a Killer Calls" turns into a full-on home invasion movie with a healthy dollop of real torture and semi-nudity just to spice things up.

I have to admit that although I initially didn't like Rebekah Kochan as babysitter Trisha, mainly due to her extremely cheap and nasty looking make-up, she really does a great job of screaming, crying and looking terrified. Whether or not a psychopath would find Trisha so attractive that he would kill for her is a moot point since he's a nutter but that's the only motivation that is given.

I also have to admit that although a few parts of "When a Killer Calls" are quite tedious, The Asylum didn't do such a bad job with this film as they have with most of their others. It's still not a good film but it's certainly quite watchable and the ending itself is refreshingly satisfying.

If you are a B-movie slasher fan and you find "When a Killer Calls" to buy very cheaply then it's another to add to your collection but horror aficionados should give it a miss. I know a lot of people have bought into The Asylum's intentional lack of originality and have started to collect these movies because of the amusing titles but really they are all awful and far more likely to disappoint than entertain.

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