|WHEN A STRANGER CALLS BACK (TV) (director/writer: Fred Walton; screenwriter: based on characters created by Steve Feke & Fred Walton; cinematographer: David Geddes; editor: David Byron Lloyd ; music: Dana Kaproff ; cast: (Jill Schoelen (Julia), Carol Kane (Jill Johnson), Charles Durning (Clifford), Duncan Fraser (Clunb Owner), Gene Lythgow (Hyde), Kevin McNulty (Dr. Schifrin), Cheryl Wilson (Mrs. Schifrin), Jerry Wasserman (Detective Brauer); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Tom Rowe; Goodtimes Home Video (MCA Universal Home Video); 1993)|
decent nail-biter that plays on the
tension it builds up, despite its gaps in
by Dennis Schwartz
made-for-television thriller, shot in Vancouver,
that's the sequel to the 1979 When A Stranger Calls.
This one is also written and directed by Fred Walton
("The Rosary Murders"/"April Fool's
Day"/"Hadley's Rebellion"). It's the suspenseful
retelling of the "babysitter murders". The pic is
noted for its brilliant opening sequence, while the
rest is only so-so.
babysitter Julia (Jill Schoelen) is alone in the
evening with the two sleeping toddlers of a doctor
and his wife (Cheryl Wilson), when a
stranger knocks on the front house door and asks
to use the phone to get a tow. Julia wisely
refuses but offers to make the call. When trying
to make the call, she finds the phone is dead.
Things turn tragic when she becomes aware the
stranger was already in the house and snatched the
It is now five years later and
Julia is a college student living in an apartment
off-campus, who panics when faced with a number of
creepy things happening to her--like someone
breaking into her apartment and moving things
around. Jill Johnson (Carol Kane, played the babysitter in the first
movie) is the college's student grief adviser, who
has also been victimized as a babysitter when
younger, and offers her services to the frightened
Durning also returns in the same police
It's a decent nail-biter that plays
on the tension it builds up, despite its gaps in
logic. The pic is great until it falls apart when
it shows the killer at work on his night job,
after the halfway point. Though it recovers for a
scary climax, the pic has nevertheless lost its
momentum and never fully recovers.
REVIEWED ON 9/22/2015 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ