Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Countdown To Halloween // Day Ten

Welcome back to day ten of my countdown to Halloween series, where I share all of my favourite Halloween films. Today's film is...


The film follows Jill Johnson (Camilla Belle) as she arrives at a large wealthy home for a babysitting job. The children are already asleep, so it looks like it's set to be a very boring evening of Jill finding ways to keep herself entertained, until the parents arrive home later that night but then the weird phone calls start...


We used to do this thing of renting a film every single weekend and it was usually me that got to choose because I was an overdramatic child. I remember scrolling through all the options one weekend and watched the trailer for When A Stranger Calls (2006). This was just as my obsession for horror films was starting, so I begged my Mum to let me watch it...after promising her I wouldn't get scared she finally agreed and ever since then, this has always been a film I have such fond memories of watching.

In 2006 a film about a young girl being stuck in a huge secluded house who was also being called on the phone by a random man, that later tries to attack her seemed like such an interesting concept for a film to 11-year-old Sophie but these days, so many horror films have a very similar plot line and it's also now all too easy to also incorporate social media into it. I simply cannot watch another horror film that features Facebook.


As a kid, I always felt like old houses were the scariest because of their old-fashioned style and all the history that they must possess and I think that's whats interesting about this film. The luxurious modern home gives you that false sense of security, literally... It has all those security alarms that you feel like nothing could ever possibly happen and you'll be safe...But what you don't really think about is modern houses also come with their own set of flaws, like when she's attempting to run away from the "stranger", all the motion sensor lighting and security alarms keep giving away her location, which makes the game the "stranger" plays oh so easy. 

The thing that really adds to the terror in this film is that you know the "stranger" is in the house but you don't know where and when you are finally confronted with him, you still don't really see him. He keeps in the shadows a lot and you don't actually completely see him until the last few minutes of the film. As I mentioned in my Blair Witch Project post, this is such a great technique in horror films because it keeps you guessing while still adding to the tension.


A few days ago, I saw that this film was currently on Netflix so I decided to watch it, to see if it still lived up to how I remember it...And honestly, I don't think it did *sob sob* It's not awful but I think it's very slow and there was so much potential for great backstories but instead it was filled with teenage drama, which felt very Pretty Little Liars to me. In fact, even the score sounded like something from PLL. The only thing we really knew about Jill was that she was a teenager in high school whose boyfriend had recently cheated on her with her best friend. What did we know about the "stranger"? Literally nothing. We never find out his motives or anything. So we just have to put the pieces together ourselves.

It's a typical early 2000's horror, which follows all the usual cliches and indulges in many a jump scare as the writing has very little substance. However, I still do love the production design. The three-layer house is first presented as the most idyllic place imaginable, situated on a lake with its glass walls, walk-in wardrobe and its very own aviary. Its the most beautiful house that you would just love to live in but as the darkness creeps in, the huge house begins to look bigger and bigger and all its creepy dark corners and weird statues start to increase your paranoia.



In terms of the cinematography, I think it's very hit and miss. Some shots are good and you start to think it's great but then other shots just scream cheap and tacky horror. They wanted to incorporate a lot of distorted imagery and darkness, with it getting darker and darker as the film went on and I think they definitely achieved that.

Despite all its flaws, this is still one of my favourite horror films that I watched growing up and it will always be something I'll go back and watch from time to time. It's not a classic and doesn't do anything groundbreaking but for a slasher film, it's pretty good.



"We traced the call! It's coming from inside the house!"



Where to watch: YouTube / Google Play / Amazon / iTunes
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1 comment

  1. Inside No. 9 sounds amazing! I can't believe I've never seen it advertised before. I can't wait to watch it now! :D

    Tania | Teabee - UK Lifestyle, Beauty & Travel Blog xx

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