Rotten Tomatoes

Movies / TV


      No Results Found

      View All
      Movies Tv shows Shop News Showtimes

      When a Stranger Calls

      R Released Oct 26, 1979 1 hr. 37 min. Mystery & Thriller List
      38% 16 Reviews Tomatometer 49% 25,000+ Ratings Audience Score A retired police detective (Charles Durning) hunts a deranged British seaman out to re-create a baby sitter's (Carol Kane) horror. Read More Read Less Watch on Peacock Stream Now

      Where to Watch

      When a Stranger Calls

      Fandango at Home Peacock Paramount+

      Watch When a Stranger Calls with a subscription on Paramount+, rent on Fandango at Home, or buy on Fandango at Home.

      Audience Reviews

      View All (776) audience reviews
      Dave S The premise is pretty straightforward: a convicted killer of two children escapes from a mental institution after 7 years of incarceration with the intent of continuing with his evil ways. When A Stranger Calls is a frustrating mixed bag of a movie. The first twenty minutes are stellar, creating a tangible sense of dread. The final act, while a bit overplayed at times, also manages to build some suspense. The middle act, however, is an unmitigated disaster, a crime procedural filled with poorly executed scenes that border on the absurd, some terrible acting, and tinny audio that makes some of the dialogue incomprehensible. It's never a good sign when a movie starts going downhill after the first twenty minutes. Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 11/07/23 Full Review Madie R One of the best opening scenes of a horror/thriller film. The rest of the movie was just meh. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 09/01/23 Full Review Tyler B It's one of those few films where the beginning is the best part by far. Probably because the beginning is utterly terrifying. The "interrupting phone calls" best and scariest roll ever. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 08/16/23 Full Review William D Great movie. The first 23 minutes are a masterclass in suspense. Everyone should watch this movie. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 08/10/23 Full Review Computey D Have you checked the Children? - Lines to put a shiver down a spine. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/21/23 Full Review Luay A Underrated film! Honestly not what I expected. Genuinely spine tingling. This flick is way better than Rotten Tomatoes gives it credit for. This helped set a template for other horror films for decades. Truly improper rating at 38% on here, I feel this film deserves at least an 88% Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/14/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

      This movie is featured in the following articles.

      Critics Reviews

      View All (16) Critics Reviews
      Anton Bitel Little White Lies To appreciate just how different it is from the other entries in this then still nascent subgenre [the slasher], we need to move on from its opening to its more critically neglected middle section. Dec 17, 2018 Full Review Gary Arnold Washington Post Although Walton contrives to keep most of his contrivances on the safe side of absurdity, "Stranger" is at best a close call. Apr 30, 2018 Full Review Nick Schager Lessons of Darkness Aggravatingly devoid of suspense. Rated: C Jan 30, 2006 Full Review Larry Vitacco Philadelphia Gay News With an effectively chilling beginning, a frightening edge-of-your-seat finish, and superb characterizations in between, Stranger is guaranteed to make your skin crawl. May 27, 2020 Full Review Richard Corliss Maclean's Magazine When a Stranger Calls does not herald a major film-making talent -- it's just another textbook experiment in terror. You will jump, though. Jul 19, 2019 Full Review Tony Mastroianni Cleveland Press What counts in a suspense movie is the way in which tension mounts in which the film leads you on, in the way climaxes explode on the screen. Oct 3, 2018 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis A retired police detective (Charles Durning) hunts a deranged British seaman out to re-create a baby sitter's (Carol Kane) horror.
      Fred Walton
      Executive Producer
      Barry Krost, Melvin Simon
      Fred Walton, Steve Feke
      Columbia Pictures
      Production Co
      Melvin Simon Productions
      Mystery & Thriller
      Original Language
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Oct 26, 1979, Original
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Oct 8, 2019
      Aspect Ratio
      Flat (1.85:1)
      Most Popular at Home Now